Davidson College, NC Sustainable Practices and Initiatives

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Davidson College, NC, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File: http://www3.davidson.edu/cms/x28480.xml


Auxiliary Services is dedicated to identifying and implementing sustainable business practices while maintaining a high standard of excellence in all areas of product and customer service. The practices and initiatives below run the gamut, but even the smallest efforts exhibit a growing and constant commitment to the spirit of sustainability.


Production Area

  • Fair Trade Coffee: S&D Coffee currently supports Coffee Kids®, an international non-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for children and families who live in coffee growing communities around the world. Buffalo & Spring, our current S&D coffee brand, contributes 10 cents for each pound of coffee sold to the foundation.
  • Organic herb garden: In conjunction with the grounds department, Dining Services offers fresh herbs grown in planters at the front of Vail Commons during spring and summer months for use in catering production.

Recycling and Waste

  • Unused prepared foods leftover in excess: When possible, excess prepared foods are donated to Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Waste Pulper Recycler: Waste pulpers grind and mix organic matter, such as food scraps, cardboard, and paper, with water and then extract most of the moisture to produce a dry pulp, reducing waste volume by up to 85 percent. This process reduces the number of trash pick-ups; labor needed to haul wastes to pick-up area, eliminates sorting paper from food waste and reduces potential rodent and insect problems.
  • Used Fryer Oil: We partner with a local entrepreneur for pick up and reuse as bio-diesel fuel.
  • Recycle – We recycle our office paper, metal cans, glass and plastic. New employees are taught the procedures and value of recycling. A large recycle dumpster is located behind Vail Commons.
  • Cardboard Boxes: Davidson College has averaged 30 tons of cardboard recycled each year for the last 3 years. The rebate fluctuates due to the market price. Price per ton for cardboard has bounced as low as $27.50/ton and as high as $54.00/ton. Vail and the Café are the main sources of cardboard on campus.
  • China, flatware, glasses – We wash and reuse china, flatware and glasses in the main Dining hall to reduce paper waste.
  • Bar towels – We wash and reuse bar towels in all dining locations to reduce paper waste.
  • Product Packaging – We purchase and dispense bulk products at Vail Commons instead of using portion packaging, to reduce packaging waste.
  • Composting – In conjunction with the Grounds Department, Vail Commons will begin a food composting program in the Fall of 2007.

General and Administrative

  • Equipment Replacement: In our recent renovation project a Vail Commons, we purchased and installed energy efficient equipment. In particular, Induction Burners are one of the best pieces of energy-efficient equipment on the market. Their cook tops generate heat only when the pan comes in contact with the surface, heating the food at its core quickly and thoroughly without releasing excess energy. Other energy efficient appliances installed during that renovation include the TurboChef-Tornado, an Exhaust Hood System and a Combi Oven.
  • Office Printing - We removed all desk top printers and replaced them with one central printer. Centralized printing reduces printer cartridge waste and costs associated with unnecessary printing. Central printing also provides an ergonomic advantage by encouraging staff to move around the workplace.
  • Food Supplier Partnership: Our primary food vendor, US FoodService, is committed to sustainability, stating in its mission statement:

We believe that employing innovative approaches to good stewardship of the environment and better engagement with our internal and external communities is part of being an efficient, profitable and responsible company

Striving for sustainability not only increases our leadership, creativity, and learning potential but also enhances the pride, dignity, and satisfaction of our stakeholders

Thus, we view Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) not only as our obligation, but also as an area of opportunity for U.S. Foodservice
-- excerpt from USF Internal CRS Advisory Council Charter


  • We replaced the original windows in the Carnegie Guest House with double-paned insulated windows.
  • We now serve breakfast using china and silverware rather than paper and plastic products.
  • We have reduced the number of monthly subscriptions to the Guest House, opting instead to keep very current Davidson papers, journals, and brochures on hand, as well as purchasing some Davidson books. (The most read book in the Guest House is The History of Davidson College
  • We recycle newspapers, plastic bottles, tin cans, and phone books.
  • We have reorganized check-in procedures, reducing the amount of paper by providing one common check-in information sheet to be used in conjunction with the information book in each guest room. Individual letters are no longer needed.
  • We are moving to an electronic guest reservation system that will replace the paper system currently in use.
  • We replace light bulbs with fluorescent ones as possible.
  • We use the smallest individual size soap and lotion products available in order to reduce waste.

Initiatives in the works

  • We will be placing a statement in all guest rooms encouraging guests to be mindful of our resources.
  • We will provide guests with a card they can place on their bed allowing us to remake rather than wash bed linens (for more than one night stays).
  • Guests will be reminded that we will only replace the towels that are left on the floor (for more than one night stays) in order to save water and reduce detergents in waste water.
  • We plan to explore the feasibility of rooftop gardens on the two porch roofs. This can address several issues, from the standing water on those portico roofs (assuming it ever rains again) to the unsightliness of those areas, to heat build-up under those porches.
  • We are working with Physical Plant to determine the most effective and efficient way to heat and cool the house. Many of our individual room units are in poor shape and need to be replaced.


  • We use high efficiency front-loading commercial washers in our main production area.
  • We equipped the new student Laundromat with high-efficiency front-loading washers and dryers.
  • Our practice is to only run full loads of laundry in production in order to conserve water.
  • We stay on top of routine maintenance to be sure our equipment is running at peak efficiency. This includes keeping all lint screens clean, regularly lubricating equipment, and bringing Physical Plant staff in to check steam, gas and electric equipment for leaks or other problems.
  • We recycle plastic, cans, bottles and paper.
  • We routinely turn off equipment when not in use during the day.
  • We encourage customers to return hangers, which we reuse.


  • We stock recycled note cards, paper, composition books and notebooks.
  • This fall we gave away reusable, non-plastic bags for the first 1000 customers who purchased more than $100 worth of merchandise.
  • We save a great deal of packing material and cardboard boxes from our stock deliveries and reuse them for any returns to venders and for web/phone order fulfillment.
  • Most of our canister lights have been replaced with fluorescent lighting.


  • We send 90% of our daily reports in electronic form to managers (our goal is 100%).
  • We now re-encode old CatCards that are still in top shape, rather than discarding and printing new.
  • Interdepartmental transfers and Summer Program invoices are conveyed electronically to offices throughout campus.
  • We replace burned out bulbs with energy saving light bulbs when the opportunity arises.
  • We turn off office lights when we go to meetings or out to lunch.
  • We recycle paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic in our office areas.