By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, Sodexo makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.

Sustainability Initiatives

Vandals Dining is committed to promoting the principles of sustainability at all of our campus locations.  Our sustainability practices fall under four broad categories: waste reduction, energy savings, healthy and sustainable food and conservation of water and environments.

Waste Reduction


In a collaborative effort with the UI Sustainability Center and the Palouse Research, Extension and Education Center (PREEC), Vandals Dining helps run a composting program at Bob’s, The Commons food court, Einstein’s and Denny’s. Staff at these four locations sort food and paper fiber waste into bins. These bins are taken to the PREEC so that the waste may be composted and turned into bedding for dairy cows.  Both pre-consumer waste generated from the kitchens and post-consumer waste from the dining areas are composted in Bob’s Place and The Commons. Denny’s and Einstein’s only compost pre-consumer waste generated in their kitchens. Based on compost studies conducted by Vandals Dining each semester, during a typical school year, Vandals Dining diverts over 60 tons of its organic waste out of landfills and into good use. 


As part of our commitment to this program, we donate free meals to Sustainability Center volunteers who give an hour of their time to help students in The Commons sort their waste into composting, recycling and landfill bins.  We also provided the truck that is used to transport the organic material to the PREEC.



Recycling is available at both Bob’s and The Commons.  At Bob’s, staff recycle tin, cardboard, plastic, glass and mixed paper.  At The Commons, staff recycle cardboard and tin.  Students at The Commons can additionally recycle paper, aluminum and some plastics at receptacles that we maintain. 


Reusable and Compostable Dining Products

Vandals Dining offers reusable and compostable dining sets in its facilities.  At Bob’s, we provide reusable plates, bowls, cups and flatware.  At The Commons, students can choose between using reusable or plastic flatware and reusable or compostable plates.  In addition to compostable to-go boxes, Vandals Dining now offers reusable to-go boxes that are available for purchase for $5.  Napkins at all locations are made from 100% recycled paper fiber and are compostable.


Food Recovery

Beginning in November 2014, Vandals Dining began a partnership with Trinity Food Pantry, a local hunger relief organization that provides food to disadvantaged community members.  Multiple times each month, staff at Bob’s set aside food that is still safe for human consumption, but for various reasons is unable to be served in the dining hall.  This food is collected by staff from Trinity Food Pantry and distributed to community members.  Food that otherwise would have been composted or landfilled is instead diverted to those in need.  To perpetuate this program, Vandals Dining is seeking to become Food Recovery Certified by the Food Recovery Network.


LeanPath System

At Bob’s and The Commons, the LeanPath waste reduction system is used to help our operations reduce food waste generation.  Staff are able to input the amount and type of food being composted into the system, which builds a database that our chefs and cooks can look at to see which areas of food production can be targeted for reductions to cut back on over-production. 


Recycling Used Cooking Oil

At Bob’s, staff recycle used cooking oil through Ventura Foods’ PURE program.  The cooking oil is converted into biofuel, reducing waste and our overall carbon footprint.

Reusable Mug Discounts

Bring your own mug to any of our retail locations and receive $0.25 off espresso drinks.  Drip coffee refills are $0.99.


Energy Savings

ENERGY STAR®Appliances

Vandals Dining has a written policy that new equipment and appliances must be ENERGY STAR certified products whenever possible.  Products with this certification use significantly less energy than their non-certified counterparts.  The ENERGY STAR certified convection ovens that we use in Bob’s, for example, are on average about 20% more energy efficient than other non-certified models.


Energy Saving Staff Practices

Staff at all of our locations are trained in a variety of energy-saving practices.  Some of these practices include switching off appliances when not in use, turning off lights during closing hours and running dishwashers only when full.


Healthy and Sustainable Food and Environments

Local and Regional Food Sourcing

At Vandals Dining, we are proud to support the local community and the region with food purchases that reduce food miles and the carbon intensity of the meals that we serve.  We receive products from the following local and regional producers:


·        Seasonal vegetables from the Soil Stewards.  This student-led, student-run club has an organic farm three miles from UI’s main campus.  Their vegetables are seasonally served in Bob’s.

·        Low-gluten flour from Shepherd’s Grain, a regional company that makes its flour products from wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest, including right here on our beautiful Palouse.  In addition to being local and family-oriented, Shepherd’s Grain also encourages its farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices such as direct seeding, no-till and reduction of pesticide use.  We use Shepherd’s Grain flour in a variety of breads, pizza dough, pastries and pancake mixes.

·        Sausages and muscle meats from Vandal Brand Meats.  VBM is UI’s on-campus butcher shop.  It provides the area with high-quality, award-winning meats that are almost entirely locally and regionally sourced.  Some of the meats even come from animals raised right here on campus.  The profits VBM receives from Vandals Dining purchases go toward helping to pay for the cost of livestock, supplies, student labor and facility maintenance.  VBM is served at select catering and resident dining events and football and basketball games. 

·        Salad dressing from Litehouse Dressing, a Sandpoint company with strong ties to the university.  Served in Bob’s and The Commons.

·        Potatoes from Kiska Farms in Pasco, WA.  Served in Bob’s.

·        Apples and pears from Borton Fruit in central Washington.  Served in Bob’s and The Commons.

·        Aquacultured trout from Clear Springs Foods in Buhl, Idaho.  Served in Bob’s.

·        Milk from Meadow Gold dairies in southern Idaho and eastern Washington.  Served at all campus dining locations.

·        Wine from 14 Hands Winery in Washington’s Columbia Valley.  Available through catering.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Vandals Dining is committed to serving those with alternative diets.  With that in mind, all campus dining locations have vegetarian options, and Bob’s also serves vegan options.  Bob’s has a designated station for vegetarian entrees, and also regularly provides vegetarian options at most of its other stations. 


Food Source and Nutrition Awareness Program

At each of its stations, Bob’s offers nutritional and allergen information for each of the dishes.  It also lists designations to inform customers if the food is vegetarian, vegan, allergen-free or locally sourced.


Allergen-Free Diets

For those that have special dietary considerations related to allergens, Bob’s offers the Simple Servings station.  At Simple Servings, dishes are always made free of nuts, dairy, soy, shellfish and gluten products.


Fair Trade CertifiedProducts

Vandals Dining strives to provide a Fair Trade Certified coffee option at each of its dining locations that serves coffee.  The principles of fair trade certification address issues of fairness and equity towards producers in developing countries.  It ensures that a fair price is being paid for a product, and encourages the development of social safety nets and access to education in communities that produce some of the goods we enjoy here on campus.  We serve Aspretto coffees and teas in Bob’s, all of which are Fair Trade Certified by Transfair USA.  The Grid, The Commons and Stover’s offer a certified coffee blend from Seattle’s Best, and Einstein’s offers its own certified Global Village Blend.  In addition to coffee and tea, Fair Trade Certified sugar is also available at Bob’s.


Sustainable Seafood

Seafood is an important component of the meals served by Vandals Dining, and we have taken steps to ensure that our seafood is sourced in a manner that does not threaten fish populations and aquatic environments.  At Bob’s, we serve a variety of products that are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Aquacultre Alliance.  We also adhere to the criteria set up by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and strive to purchase seafood that is on its “Best Choice” and “Good Alternative” lists. 


Cage Free Eggs

All shell eggs served at Vandals Dining locations are cage free. 


Water Conservation

Trayless Dining

In Fall 2010, Bob’s went trayless.  By simply removing the trays in the dining hall, we are able to save about 56,000 gallons of water a year and do more to preserve the Palouse Basin aquifer.  In addition to saving water, going trayless also saves energy and detergent while significantly reducing food waste.


Dish Room Upgrade

In the summer of 2014, Vandals Dining installed a brand new pulping machine and conveyor belt in its dish room.  This new system significantly reduces water use for dish washing and also streamlines the composting program by allowing student food waste to be neatly shredded by the machine and put in a compost bin.




Xpress Nap Holders

XPressnap dispensers are another solution to reducing energy and waste. They use 30% less paper than traditional napkin dispensing mechanisms. The great thing about these dispensers is that they help the environment while helping to keep costs down. The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) less napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material.  According to Xpressnap, enough is saved through using recycled napkins to power 600 American homes for an entire year! More than half a million gallons of oil were saved ‘ 38 tanker trucks worth ‘ and 41 tons of pollutants were kept out of the environment. Using recycled napkins diverted 4,131 cubic yards of paper from landfills. This is enough to cover a football field with a stack of paper two and a half feet deep.



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University of Idaho | Dining Services | 1080 w 6th St, Room 231 Moscow, ID 83843 | tel. (208) 885-6070 | Contact Us