MassRecycle names Sodexo at Clark 2011 GOLD Award Winner

Sharon Bort ’14, Jenny Isler (Clark University Sustainability Coordinator), Heather Vaillette (Clark Dining Services general manager), and Anthony Oduro’12 attend the MassRecycle awards banquet Nov. 15.

Sodexo, which provides food services at Clark University’s three dining locations and catering for the Worcester campus, has been named “2011 Gold Award Winner” in the Food Establishment category by MassRecycle. The awards recognize individuals, businesses, municipalities and organizations for outstanding efforts to increase recycling and eliminate waste in Massachusetts.

MassRecycle presented the Food Establishment Recycling Award to Sodexo at Clark University for significant advancements made in reducing dining hall waste. The award was presented at the 16th Annual Recycling Awards Ceremony on November 15 in Lexington.  Besides a plaque from MassRecycle, the Sodexo at Clark received hand-signed citations from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Massachusetts Senate.

"Receiving the Gold Food Service Establishment Award from MassRecycle is a testament to the strides Dining Services has made toward reducing our impact on the environment,” said Heather Vaillette, general manager of Clark’s Dining Services. “Sodexo and Clark  University have created a solid partnership toward sustainability, which has proven to show positive results inour efforts. It was very exciting to receive this award, which belongs to the entire Clark community."

Accompanying Vaillette at the awards ceremony were Jenny Isler, Clark University Sustainability Coordinator, and students Anthony Oduro ’12, Dining Services Sustainability Ambassador, and Sharon Bort ’14, Clark University Recycling Intern. The students researched and wrote the winning entry, highlighting the green initiatives of Clark Dining Services: composting (100 percent of pre- and post-consumption food scraps); recycling program (100 percent of cans, bottles, plastic, paper and cardboard); as well as waste vegetable oil, surplus food donation, trayless dining, water conservation and “from scratch” food prep policies. This is the first time Clark has entered the state-wide competition, one of more than 50 entries from throughout the state, Isler noted.

Since 2007, changes implemented on campus include waste reduction through tray-less dining and other methods to reduce unnecessary food production; a comprehensive food waste composting program that includes kitchen prep food scraps, post-consumer food trimmings, meat, dairy, coffee cups, and more; the use of only reusable or compostable cutlery, take-out containers,  plates and cups in all dining areas; and recycling bins with highly visible signage located beside all trash receptacles at all dining locations.

As further diversion of food from the waste stream, Sodexo at Clark University donates food and milk to Rachel’s Table, a local food rescue service which delivers to food pantries in the area.

Sodexo employees at Clark University receive extensive and continual training on how to separate compost, recyclables, and trash and proper production procedures to maximize the raw food product served. In 2010 the program composted 403 tons, recycled 92 tons and reused 2,500 tons.

MassRecycle is a statewide coalition of individuals, governments, businesses, institutions and non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting and realizing the vital environmental, social and economic benefits created by reducing, reusing, and recycling waste materials, and by increasing the utilization of recycled products.

For more information, visit www.clarkdining.com.