Recycling, recycle, plastic bottles, trash, sustainability

A photo of recycling bottles

Waste minimization is a big part of being green, lowering your carbon footprint, and promoting sustainability. At Virginia Tech Dining Services we have made great strides in lowering our impact on the environment through waste management initiatives, including recycling and compost. You can read about our efforts below.


Virginia Tech Dining Services began composting pre-consumer food waste at our pre-preparation food processing center on campus, Southgate Food Processing Center,  in January of 2009. Since then, our composting efforts have expanded to include all of our dining centers.

In units like Owens Food Court at Owens Hall, West End Market at Cochrane Hall, and D2 at Dietrick Hall, Dining Services staff are trained to sort food waste as customers return their plates and leftover food (this is known as "post-consumer" waste). Turner Place at Lavery Hall is the first dining center on campus to rely on students for waste sorting. Turner Place’s waste stations are designated for compostables, recyclables and landfillables. Today, we also ask students to self-sort at our dining locations in Squires.

Royal Oak Farm, based in Evington, Va., processes Virginia Tech's pre- and post-consumer food waste and turns it into compost. Some of the compost is used at the Dining Services Farm at Kentland Farm. Since 2009 Dining Services has diverted nearly five million pounds of food waste from the landfill. 

VT News story: Dining Services composting program aims to reduce landfill waste


Paper, cardboard, and plastics numbers "1" through "7" are recyclable in our dining centers and across campus. Our recycling stream is picked up by Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority in Christiansburg, Va. For more information on recycling at VT please visit the Office of Sustainability recycling page.  

Sit & Sort

What goes where?

Virginia Tech Dining Services uses self-sort stations for post-consumer waste in Turner Place at Lavery Hall, Burger 37 at Squires Student Center, Au Bon Pain at Squires Student Center and the Graduate Life Center, Hokie Grill, and Deet’s Place at Dietrick. These stations allow you to sort your recyclables, compostables, and landfill-ables into their appropriate bins.

We need YOUR help making sure that our waste stream isn't contaminated and that the right waste ends up in the right bins. Confused about what goes where? 

Use the Sit & Sort website to guide you through the sorting process at Turner Place at Lavery Hall.

Food Diversion

Virginia Tech Dining Services has been working to divert food to those in need since 2007. These efforts were first started by Jacob Moyer, a Virginia Tech alumni who was inspired by the tragedies on our campus and decided to create something positive in our community as we healed together. Today, Dining Services partners with Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech. Since launching in 2015, Campus Kitchen has diverted over ten tons of food. This is then given to those in need within the community. We also regularly donate to several organizations that serve Feeding America – Southwest Virginia.

Trayless Dining

In 2008, after learning that nearly 30% less food is wasted when trays are not readily offered in Dining Centers, Dining Services removed trays from our all-you-care-to-eat facilities. This change began during summer 2008, during First-Year Orientation, so that incoming students would never miss trays when they arrived on campus. Trays are still offered for handicapped guests or other special requests.