Long before sustainability was a buzzword for environmentally friendly practices, Tufts Dining Services wanted to be green—very green.
It started with composting in 1994, and kept growing. By 2009 they had introduced recyclable dishes and service ware where reusable wasn’t feasible. Dining Services also would go on to incorporate local produce into the menus and install and a super energy-efficient dishwasher in Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall in 2012. At both Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael dining halls on the Medford/Somerville campus, they also switched over to energy-saving LED lights.
“We have a long history of becoming steadily more sustainable,” said Patti Klos, director of Dining and Business Services. “It’s who we are.”
Those green business practices have reaped rewards beyond the dining halls. All nine food service locations on the Medford/Somerville campus, plus Tufts Catering, are now “green restaurant certified,” receiving three stars from the nonprofit Green Restaurant Association. (Food services on Tufts’ Boston and Grafton campuses are handled by outside vendors.)
Tufts is one of 44 colleges and universities nationwide that are green restaurant certified—and the first establishment in Medford or Somerville to hold that designation.
Klos noted that Tufts is the first university to earn three stars for all seven certification requirements, from water efficiency to waste reduction to sustainable food—the top rating is four stars. “That’s unprecedented,” she said. “It confirms our dedication to and consistency with sustainability practices.”
Melody Vuong, associate director of retail and catering, and Klos said that the certification process was enlightening, and they look forward to applying what they learned when a café opens in the new Science and Engineering Complex next fall on the Medford/Somerville campus.
“We will be striving for four stars at that location,” said Klos. “It’s important to be constantly assessing where we are in terms of environmental impact and ask, What can we do better?”
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