Environment and Sustainability

Seal of agricultural authenticity.

The food choices we make everyday have a significant impact on our environment. At Dining Services, we recognize the importance of our choices and have committed to purchasing socially responsible and sustainable food. Bon Appétit Management Company has much to say on this topic in the "Sustainability" area of their website.


Carleton’s commitment to sustainability includes a composting component. Beginning in the fall of 2007, the College has composted food waste and other products made out of biodegradable material. All food waste produced by Carleton’s dining facilities is collected in yellow “compostable” bins. In addition, all disposable items at Sayles Café, including plates, cups, containers, and utensils, are compostable. During Carleton’s annual Commencement and Reunion activities, all meals are served on plates and utensils made of compostable materials. While individual composting is common, undertaking the process on a larger scale is not. Many communities, including Northfield, compost leaves, grass and other yard waste, city-wide, but no service is yet provided for food waste except "backyard composting." Carleton's compostable waste is picked up daily by the college's waste hauler.

The program helps Carleton in its efforts to abide by the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, originally signed by former Carleton President Robert A. Oden Jr. The commitment pledges to move toward eliminating Carleton’s greenhouse gas emissions and steer the College toward climate neutrality. One of the items signed by Oden asks participants to select from a list of seven ways to support sustainability—in this case, reducing waste on campus. It also supports the college's own Climate Action Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011.