A green composting bin sits next to a conveyor belt.

Food Waste Reduction

Serving thousands of customers daily, uneaten food on college campuses can result in massive amounts of waste.  The issue is being addressed head on at Penn State through such initiatives as:

Smaller trays: Encouraging customers to take fewer plates or consume only smaller portions.

Various Serving Sizes: Preparing dishes smaller than an average serving size to offer a variety of options.

Signage: Educating customers about the environmental and social impacts of food waste.

Focus groups:  Demonstrating proper disposal of leftover food

Waste Audits: Gathering and analyzing food waste statistics to understand affectiveness of other initiatives.

Composting stations in each dining common also aids in the reduction of food waste.  Customers separate compostable food from other waste before dishes are cleaned.  Penn State then composts all food waste by sending it to a composting facility.  The composted materials are then returned to the University grounds through landscaping soil.

Preventative Food Waste Colaborations


Penn State Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network Logo

To reduce pre-consumer food waste, the Food Recovery Network collects leftover meals and items, which are then delivered to pantries and shelters across the community.


Meals On Wheels

State College Meals on Wheels LogoAn organization of volunteers that prepare and deliver food to the elderly and handicapped. At the end of each semester, Penn State donates unprepared food to this organization. To learn more about the collaboration, visit Meals on Wheels.