Sustainable Food & Dining

Eating is a major part of our day-to-day lives, so it’s no wonder that our dining choices affect how sustainable (or not) our lifestyles are. You can reduce your impact by following the tips below. 

Best Practices

Stock your kitchen
  • Shop local. Stop by a grocer or a local CitySeed farmer’s market. Consider purchasing a CSA share to reduce the hassle of shopping.  Select fair trade and organic products whenever possible. 
  • Make sure your kitchen has reusable dishware to eliminate the need for disposable plates, cups and utensils. A dishwasher can help make cleaning faster and easier. Choose green cleaning products for tidying up.
  • Promote the use of tap water or filtered filling stations for hydration and eliminate individual water bottles. Not only do they create unnecessary waste, but many plastic containers leach chemicals that can affect human health. 
Stay healthy
  • Reducing meat consumption is better for you and better for the environment. Consider making Meatless Mondays the norm. 
  • Replace sugar sweetened beverages with healthier options, like spa water. Use a reusable cup or bottle to eliminate the waste, too!
  • Reduce your salt intake. Foods that are highly processed tend to be worse for the environment and for your body. Opt for whole foods instead. 

Dine well

Yale Hospitality is an institutional leader in sustainable dining practices. By approaching sustainability holistically, Yale Hospitality seeks to provide customers with healthy options while supporting the local economy. Many menu items meet at least one of the following criteria: local, eco-sensitive, fairly traded, or humanely raised. 
Ways you can contribute to sustainable dining at Yale include: 
  • Go trayless: Food audits in the residential colleges found that trayless diners wasted on average 40% less than their tray-carrying counterparts. Food waste translates into wasted energy, time, and water used for preparation. 
  • Remember: Take what you care to eat, eat what you take.
  • Compost leftovers: Compost your leftovers in the dining hall. Composting diverts food waste from incinerators, and allows nutrients to be recycled through compost soil. Compost bins are located in college dining halls and Yale Hospitality eateries.
  • Bring a reusable mugBring your own mug or water container to the dining hall instead of using paper cups to carry out beverages. A ceramic mug has the same environmental impact as 40 paper cups, so even if you use paper cups just twice a month, it makes sense to make the switch.
  • Invest in reusable dishwareBring your own reusable dishware when attending events that serve food or for leftovers after a big meal out. 
  • Plan a sustainable event: If planning an event, refer to our Healthy Meeting Guidelines to make good food choices easy for attendees. 

Meeting our goals

Yale is making great strides in its efforts to build a stronger, more resilient food system and to reduce associated waste. Read more about our priorities around food, health and well-being and in managing materials.


Wellness — Go for Glass

Using plastic containers has consequences for the environment and for your health. Use this poster to encourage others to use glass containers.

Wellness — BYO Bottle

Poster explaining the health and environmental benefits of using a reusable water bottle over disposable plastic bottles.

Bring Your Own

This video shows just how much waste we create with disposable food containers and encourages us to provide our own reusable ones.