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Cornell University


Cornell Dining is passionately committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint.

Cornell Dining partners with our colleagues at Sustainable Cornell and submits data to AASHE on our efforts to reduce landfill, energy and water waste, in addition to providing a diverse array of sustainable food choices.

Cornell Dining has introduced a number of sustainability initiatives:


  • Resumed Reusable Mug Program in our retail locations
  • Resumed the Consumer Waste Educational Initiative (Food Waste/Choice Studies done by the Student Sustainability Coordinators)


  • Signed Forward Food pledge to increase the number of plant-based offerings on our retail menus by at least 5-10% per year over the next 5 years
  • Began tracking pre-consumer waste in all of our residential dining room kitchens in Fall 2021
  • In fall & spring every student on a meal plan was given one free reusable container
  • Distributed free reusable utensils sets to incoming students


  • Hired a full-time Sustainability Coordinator in January
  • Increased the number of Student Sustainability Coordinators from three to five to help develop and promote existing and new sustainability initiatives and increase student engagement


  • Switched to SmartPower™ dishroom chemicals which are better for the environment as they are biodegradable, have low or no added phosphorus and are non-toxic to aquatic life
  • Introduced bakery cases at two additional locations, and as of December 2019 eliminated total of 182,559 plastic bags since the beginning of the program
  • Distributed 3,000 reusable straws to first-year students; also sold at select retail locations


  • Introduced bakery cases at seven retail locations, thus eliminating individual plastic bags
  • Began serving the Impossible™ Burger at select retail locations - Trillium Dining, Ivy Room and McCormick’s Restaurant


  • Began using beef and mushroom burger blend (70% beef, 30% mushrooms) at select retail locations - Ivy Room and Franny’s food truck
  • Introduced the Eco-Takeout reusable container program.


  • Introduced Food Waste Studies conducted by the Student Sustainability Coordinators to raise awareness of food waste and gain valuable feedback from students


  • Joined Menus of Change collaborative
  • By following the Menus of Change principles, Cornell Dining reduced its red meat purchases, increased produce purchases, reduced sugary beverages at All You Care To Eat locations, eliminated products with added nitrates and nitrites, introduced rBST free dairy and focused more on local ingredients and seasonal menus. The kickoff was followed by 5% reduction in red meat purchases and 9% increase in produce purchases.


  • Began partnering with Food Recovery Network (FRN), a student organization that recovers food from four All You Care to Eat (AYCTE) dining rooms, redirecting food that otherwise would go to waste to Friendship Donation Network in Ithaca
  • In the school year 2018/19, FRN redistributed 6255 lb of food.
  • Changed to permanent dishes and cutlery at Ivy Room


  • Opened Café Jennie with permanent dishes and cutlery

You can find more information on Cornell's sustainability efforts by visiting the following:


Questions, comments, or suggestions? Contact us at