Emerson's dining hall went trayless in spring 2011.

Serving almost 2,000 meals per day, Emerson Dining Services has made important strides in reducing waste—food, water, and electricity—and implemented recycling and composting programs.

Trayless Dining Halls

Like numerous other U.S. college campuses, Emerson has implemented trayless dining halls, which helps conserve energy, water, and food. In fact, students waste about 30 percent less food when they go trayless, according to a study by the College’s food service provider. In addition, water and electricity are saved, since washing trays requires one-third to a one-half gallon of water per tray, as well as electricity. A limited number of trays are always available for those who require them due to disability or other circumstance. Sodexo also donates excess perishable food to a local food bank.

Organic and Fair Trade Products

Dining Services also offers organic and fair trade products, as well as cage-free eggs. Emerson’s Café (80 Boylston Street) uses compostable serviceware and offers a discount on coffee when reusable mugs are used.

Reusable containers offer convenience and another way for the College to reduce its environmental footprint. Reusable containers are available to students at the Dining Hall’s entrance. Students can drop off used containers (to be cleaned) and pick up new ones, or return the containers and get rainchecks for new containers the next time they want a meal to go.


The College’s Business Services and Facilities Management Departments, along with Sodexo, have partnered with Planet Police, a compost hauler service assisting food generators with green initiatives, to develop a composting program on campus. Dining Hall guests are encouraged to compost any uneaten food as well as paper napkins. Containers for these items are positioned across from the dish return area.