Waste Minimization

Waste Minimization extends to every stage of our operations. If not managed properly, waste accumulates and can have a long-term negative impact on the environment.

Sun Devil Dining’s commitment: Our goal is to work with clients in the buildings in which we operate to achieve Zero Waste dining facilities; where 90% of our waste is diverted from the landfill.


Sun Devil Dining employees play a significant role in ASU’s Zero Waste goals by composting food and paper in all dining locations across the four ASU campuses. This includes food waste and paper napkins left on plates that are returned to the dish belt in the residential dining halls.

Sun Devil Dining Composting Process

Commingled Recycling Program

We implement a robust commingled recycling program at all locations that accepts glass, metal, paper, cardboard and plastic 1-7. Monthly spot audits reinforce training and identify sources of contamination.

Recycling Icon

Annual Waste Audits

Annual waste audits are conducted at select locations for a full operating day to ensure proper waste diversion practices are followed. These audits allow the Sun Devil Dining Sustainability Department and ASU Zero Waste to determine the waste diversion rate of a dining location/campus and to identify potential opportunities to minimize waste.

Annual Waste Audits

Recycled Fryer Oil

All used fryer oil is recycled for biodiesel and other industrial purposes.

Fryer Oil

Trayless Dining

Trayless Dining encourages customers to take only what they can eat, and reduces food waste by an estimated 1.5 ounces per person each meal. Trayless dining helps prevent nearly 75 pounds of food waste per person each academic year.

Trayless Dining

Food Waste Buffet

The Food Waste Buffet is a high-impact visual demonstration conducted at dining halls each year. Discarded, edible food that is mostly or completely uneaten from a meal period is taken from the dish return and arranged on a buffet-style display. The purpose is to show how much preventable food waste is created and that individual choice has a direct impact.

Food Waste Buffet image

Food Donation Program

High quality, unserved food is often left over at the end of the day in our coffee, retail and catering locations. Through a partnership with Arizonan’s for Children, who works to alleviate hardships for children in foster care, this food is collected three times per week and distributed to children in need.

Arizonans for Children logo

Reusable Items

We offer a discounted 99 cent fill with a reusable cup at all retail and on-campus market locations to help to decrease single-use disposable waste on campus.

Also, at the on-campus markets, plastic bags have been replaced by recyclable paper and reusable bags.

Reusable to-go containers are offered at the Downtown Phoenix campus to avert a high number of take out boxes from the waste stream.

Reusable Items