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College Keeps Leftovers Out of Landfills

College Keeps Leftovers Out of Landfills


Since Neubig was converted to an all-you-care-to-eat dining facility in 2005, SUNY Cortland has reduced the use and disposal of paper and plastic there by more than 30 percent.

The College continues to uphold this sustainability initiative by gleaning — collecting excess fresh food — to provide to those in need.

“The dining managers’ goal is to bring in enough food to meet our customer needs, but not too much, so we don’t waste food,” said Terry Baker, director of dining services at SUNY Cortland. “But sometimes we do have leftovers.”

Dining Services teams with the campus Dunkin’ Donuts staff and student clubs such as Sociology/Anthropology and New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to give away leftover food.

A student group will pick up the daily donations from Dunkin Donuts — mainly consisting of bagels, donuts, muffins, croissants and munchkins — and give them to Cortland Loaves & Fishes. Entering its 34th year of hospitality, Loaves & Fishes is a local program that serves those in need in the Cortland community and provides more than 100 meals every day.

Meanwhile, highly perishable items at Neubig, such as produce and dairy, are donated to the charity after students leave at the end of each semester.

Last fall, the team collected more than $4,000 worth of leftovers to present to Cortland Loaves & Fishes, an average of $38 per day.  

Dining Services also composts food, recycles fryer waste oil and uses LeanPath measurement equipment, a system that identifies areas where food waste can be reduced.

“I am encouraged that Dining Services’ sustainability programs and donations to Loaves & Fishes will continue to reduce our impact on the environment,” Baker said. “We want to give back and help our local community whenever it is possible.”

For more information on the College’s sustainability initiatives, visit Dining Services.

Prepared by Communications Office intern Jamie Winsper