University of Wisconsin–Madison


Housing strives to ensure the food that fuels our residents is healthy for them and the environment.

  • Surplus food is redistributed through the Campus Kitchens Project, Food Recovery Network, and Open Seat Food Pantry.
  • Vegetarian options are available at each meal to provide students with healthy, low carbon choices
  • All Housing to-go food containers are compostable!
    • Our World Centric compostable to-go items are made from non-polluting and non-toxic and renewable resources and are domestically manufactured with silver grass from Columbus, OH
    • 25% of profits are donated to create positive environmental change
    • 100% of carbon produced in production is offset by giving to carbon offsetting organizations
  • A waste oil boiler assists in heating Gordon Dining and Event Center’s water with recycled vegetable oil. One gallon of oil heats nearly 250 gallons of hot water.
  • Gordon Dining and Event Center’s green roof and rain gardens prevent runoff into local waterways
  • Software is used to inventory and order items to prevent food waste by calculating the amount of food needed for production
  • Our a la carte system reduces waste in comparison to all-you-can-eat buffet service
  • Industrial sized garbage disposals prepare food waste for composting
  • Our large batch kitchen prepares and packages bulk food orders at one time to increase efficiency and shelf-life

Edible Landscapes strives to alleviate food insecurity and introduces students to sustainable agriculture. Gardens are loaded with herbs and veggies available to anyone on campus – check them out at Smith, Cole and Sellery.

Consume less meat and dairy products

Try the 5/2 diet: eat vegetarian or vegan 5 days a week, and continue your usual diet 2 days a week

Compost food waste

Compost bins are available in all residence hall kitchens and trash/recycling rooms. Other compost locations are available across campus as well.

Eat greener meat when you do eat meat

Look for: grass fed or pasture-raised, lean cuts, no antibiotics/hormones, local, certified organic. Eat in season and buy local to reduce transportation emissions

Skip processed and packaged food

Processed foods have a larger carbon footprint than their non-processed alternatives. Cook from scratch, choose the least processed alternative, and avoid packaged items

Don’t waste food – eat leftovers and meal prep

Wasting food means wasting the energy and water used to grow, process, and transport the food. 30-40% of all food produced in U.S. is wasted. When you eat at a restaurant, bring your own to-go container

Conserve smart

Use the Environmental Working Group’s shopping guide app to help you make healthy choices and avoid food with pesticides. Scan the barcode or look up items by category!

Local Dining Partners

  • Local Food & Ingredients
    • Babcock Dairy
    • Bagels Forever
    • Carr Valley Cheese
    • Johnsonville
    • Parrfection Produce
    • Roth Cheese
    • People’s Bakery
    • Sugar River Dairy
    • Simple Soyman
  • Local/Wisconsin Manufacturers
    • Brakebush
    • Neesvigs
    • V. Marchese Produce
    • Best Maid Cookie Company
    • Klements Sausage Company
    • Sargento Cheese
    • Elegant Foods
    • Grande Cheese Company

Reusable To-Go Container Program

Beginning in Fall 2018, Dining will exclusively utilize a reusable to-go container program in order to reduce single-use disposable waste in our Dining facilities. When ordering their food, customers can request a to-go container in exchange for their copper token at checkout. When they are done with the container, customers can then return their empty container to one of the machines in any of our five dining markets. At the point of return, residents will be given another token to use next time they want to carry-out from our Dining Markets.

University Residence Hall residents are given one token at move-in. Any other customer who is interested in carrying-out from any of our units will be required to purchased into the program for a one-time fee of $5. If a token or container is lost, anyone interested in re-entering the program will need to pay the $5 fee for a replacement token.