A student browses a vendor's offerings at a Farmers Market on Tech Walk.

A student browses a vendor's offerings at a Farmers Market on Tech Walk.

Georgia Tech's dining experience reflects the Institute's commitment to environmental sustainability. Through efforts led by students and Georgia Tech Dining Services, the Tech community can advocate sustainability efforts simply by eating on campus, no matter what its members may want to incorporate into their diets.

More than $114,000 has gone to local and organic food purchases since August 2009, including a salad bar in the Student Center Food Court stocking 80 percent local or organic ingredients. All Georgia Tech Dining locations have full pre- and post-consumer composting, and have composted more than 300 tons of food waste since implementing these operations in August 2009.

Dining Services minimizes leftovers by donating them locally; in recent years, more than 4,500 pounds of food were donated as a result of the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling's Student Move-out Program. Around 2,600 gallons of used cooking oils are collected and manufactured into biodiesel each year. In addition, Dining Services has reduced the use of packaging and Styrofoam takeout containers by 85 percent.

Other facets of campus dining facilities include intentional water conservation through the use of low-flow faucets and sprayers. The recent replacement of two dishwashing machines creates a savings of more than 840,000 gallons of water per year. The Student Center Commons features natural light, low-flow kitchen hoods and countertops made of 100 percent recycled glass.

In the area of research, the Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Center within Georgia Tech's Manufacturing Research Center examines supply chains and manufacturing within the food industry to reduce the use of resources. Researchers in the Food Processing Technology Division of the Georgia Tech Research Institute focus on automation, information technology, food safety, worker safety and environmental technology.