University of Minnesota Duluth
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Duluth
UMD Sustainability

Summer is here!

While it might still be a little grey outside, Summer is in full swing! The end of Spring Semester is always a little hectic around the Office of Sustainability as we celebrate Earth Month all April long. This year, we focused on reducing waste. More specifically, we looked at reducing waste in three areas: food, energy, and in daily living.

You might have seen our tweets with tips to reduce energy or our awesome interns in the food court helping to educate students on where their plates and wrappers from lunch should go.


You also might have seen a few very pretty pictures floating around Instagram with the hashtag #myfavoriteplace17. We wanted to see your pictures of your favorite place on Earth. Here is April’s winner, junior Carly Christensen!


When zero-ing in on food,  our first thoughts went to our friends at UMD Dining. Did you know that aside from the small amount of food that goes uneaten (which is pulped and sent to composting), Superior Dining is waste free? In order to help reduce the amount of food that gets sent to the pulper, Dining has partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank so uneaten pans of food to others who will eat it. Most importantly, there is an effort to forecast the amount of food that will be consumed during each meal. Not only does this help cut down the leftover food, but costs and prep time as well, making the entire process more efficient. In order to get as close as possible to achieving this goal, extensive data is kept on the number of students eating each meal, the number of pans of a certain dish previously produced, and the number of people who elect to eat the dish. This data is based on a six week food schedule. Other factors such as the weather and point in the semester (how close it is to finals, for example) are all taken into consideration as well. The process has come down to a certain science and is usually as accurate as one pan away!


Behind the scenes throughout the summer, the kitchen is working on taking all of that fresh organic produce from the UMD SAP Farm and preserving it until students are back on campus in the Fall. There are a number of ways the kitchen goes about this. This first is just regular old cleaning and freezing to vegetables. This method works particularly well with vegetables like squash. In addition to this, Dining uses methods like flash freezing. Not only does this preserve the produce, but additionally keeps it fresh.



During the second week of April, we wanted to give you some helpful tools to reduce energy in your life. Did you know that in each light bulb, only 10% of the energy is actually used to produce light, the other 90% of the energy just creates heat. Purchasing CFLs or LEDs instead of old incandescent bulbs may seem kind of expensive, but you could save up to $70 in annual energy costs by replacing your 5 most frequently used light bulbs with ENERGY STAR certified bulbs! What a payback!



During Earth Week, the third week of April, we focused on everyday waste. What better way focus on this topic than to dig through your waste? A couple of brave students partnered with a Sustainable Management class to conduct a trash audit in LSBE. Here is what they found: in the 155.8 total pounds analyzed, 36% was compostable, 24% recyclable, and 40% trash. This means that more than half of the waste headed to the landfill from LSBE alone could be diverted. The main barriers to action are the lack of recycling and compost bins in classrooms and offices as well as a need for more education.

UMD Sustainability
The UMD Sustainability website is administered by the University of Minnesota Duluth's Office of Sustainability.
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