Dining & Catering Services

Sustainability is a high priority for UIC Dining Services and UIC Catering Services. After arriving on campus in July 2012 UIC Dining Services has partnered with many organizations and student groups, including the Office of Sustainability, to strengthen relationships and collaborate on various sustainable initiatives. Since then, UIC Dining Services has managed to gain a great deal of perspective and create momentum to work towards a more sustainable environment in both residential and retail operations.

Sustainable Dining & Catering Services Highlights

Antibiotic Free Dairy

Prairie Farms Dairy, located in Rockford, IL is Dining & Catering’s supplier for all milk and yogurt. Prairie Farms Dairy is a dairy farmer-owned cooperative that utilizes cows which have been certified to be free of the artificial growth hormones rBGH/rBST.

Human Antibiotic-Free Poultry

Only chicken and turkey is served that has been produced with restricted use of drugs, especially as a growth additive, in feed. Contracted suppliers are required to provide products that adhere to criteria developed in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund.

Sustainable Seafood

Catering & Dining Services is committed to protecting the threatened global fish supply. In collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, they established a landmark policy to remove unsustainable wild and farmed seafood from all menus.

Cage Free Eggs

With the help of EcoCampus, a student organization focused on the sustainability movement, both UIC Catering & Dining Services now offer shelled and whole liquid eggs that are certified by the HFAC program in partnership with the Humane Society of American to be cage free. Cage-free eggs are healthier, more sustainable, and more humane.

  • Cage-free farms are more sustainable and cause less water and air pollution than conventional farms.
  • Cage-free farms provide safer and healthier working conditions for farmers.

Supporting Local Farms

UIC Catering & Dining Services strives to purchase seasonal local produce whenever possible. They aspire to reduce dependence on factory farming and partner with qualified local and regional growers.

  • “Local” is typically defined as coming from within a 250-mile radius of the producing facility.
  • The primary local vendor is Testa Produce, which sources from and supports farms in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio.
  • Testa Produce’s Chicago facility is a LEED Platinum Certified building. This certification also marks Testa as the First Platinum Refrigerated Food Distribution Facility in the United States. All of Dining Services’ produce, much of it locally grown and some organic, comes from Testa.

Reusable Mugs

As coffee is a top seller on this campus, Dining Services introduced a reusable mug policy. Customers can purchase their coffee beverages at a reduced price by bringing in a reusable mug to any of retail location. Nearly 200 UIC Dining Services Green mugs, produced from compostable corn product, were sold within the Fall 2012 semester.

Oil Recycling

Waste oil used in kitches are recycled into biodiesel using Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions, a local company focused on sustainable and economical environmentally-friendly services. A total of 5,235 pounds (almost 700 gallons) of oil was filtered using the FiltaFry microfiltration system in 2012 from August through December. This resulted in:

  • 150 jugs of oil saved
  • Over 110 gallons of diesel fuel and 120 pounds of cardboard due to not having to transport the jugs
  • 7 million gallons of water saved in not having to irrigate
  • A combined 52 gallons of fuel saved in not having to process, which resulted in a carbon offset from fuel equal to over 3,300 pounds.

All of these savings were like planting almost 170 trees to benefit the environment.

Food Donation

Supporting the local Salvation Army for dry food excess. Overstock of prepackaged foods are donated to the Pacific Garden Mission located in Chicago, IL.

Disposable Service Ware

UIC Dining Services has virtually eliminated the use of disposable serviceware by using reusable, rather than disposable, baskets at late night dining. In the event that it is necessary to use disposable materials, disposable containers and napkins produced with high levels of post-consumer recycled material are used.

Trayless Dining

Dining Services offers a trayless environment to reduce the use of water and chemicals to clean wash trays; additionally, there has been a significant reduction in food waste as a result of going trayless.

These are just a few examples of the many sustainable practices that are implemented and advertised by UIC Dining Services & UIC Catering Services on the UIC campus.

For questions about this, and to get more information, contact:

Heather Payne
Marketing Director
UIC Dining Services
750 S. Halsted (SCE 113)