By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, Sodexo makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.

Sustainability Initiatives

Your Sodexo Campus Dining Team is dedicated to sustainability.  We know we can all work together to make a positive impact right here at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. In addition to the many initiatives we take on as a company, we have implemented the following programs specific to The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.


Aspretto Logo

Going forward by giving back.  We are proud to feature 100% Transfair, Fair Trade USA certified aspretto coffee and 100% USDA certified organic and ethically sourced Numi teas. Everything that touches the product is green, from the 10% post-consumer fiber cups to the renewable resource stirrers to the fair trade sugar wrapped in recyclable paper and printed with vegetable dye.

Last year, we purchased over 2,448 pounds of Fair Trade aspretto coffee.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade Logo

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is the first campus in the U. S. declared a Fair Trade University. Fair trade is a system of international trade that works for financial security, social justice, and environmental stewardship for growers and producers in the developing world. Here is a list of dining areas on campus that provide Fair Trade products:

  • Blackhawk Commons
  • Reeve Marketplace
  • Sage Cafe
  • Mi Taza Coffeehouse
  • Cafe Clow
  • Halsey Mi Taza to Go


The Sustainability Management and Reporting Tool (SMART) is a comprehensive, yet easy to use dashboard that provides baseline sustainability performance, prioritizes initiatives, and tracks continuous improvement in four key areas - carbon and energy, water, waste, and healthy and sustainable food and environments.

Waste Reduction Efforts


On campus we recycle the following products: cardboard, glass, aluminum, paper, plastic.

Local Results:  During the past year, we diverted 5,365 pounds of waste from the landfill by recycling.


Food waste in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 21x more potent than CO2.  (  Our first priority is to reduce food waste. Our second priority is to harvest this methane gas with a Bio-digester and to produce energy for the UW Oshkosh Campus. All pre and post-consumer waste from Blackhawk is collected and sent to the Biodigester, which can supply up to 20% of campus demand for electricity, and once the organic material is digested, it is further composted and turned into Titan Gold, which is a garden supplement creating a revenue stream for campus.

UW Oshkosh Biodigester Facts

The digestion process
When people eat food, the food passes through their digestive system. The food material that the body does not use is expelled from the body in the form of urine, feces and gas. A critical part of digestion in animals is done by microbes. Some of the microbes in digestive systems and in nature produce a gas, methane, as a waste product.

What is a biodigester?
A biodigester uses bacteria to break down organic matter and capture methane released by the bacteria in a process called anaerobic fermentation. Anaerobic means the micro-organisms digest the food in the absence of oxygen. There are several kinds of microbes at work. Some break the food into simpler molecules of sugars and acids. Other microbes, which find oxygen toxic, are able to break down the simple organic matter to form gases, including the burnable gas methane. Methane, the main chemical in natural gas, is trapped and can then be burned for heating and electricity. The leftover organic solid waste can be used as fertilizer, a soil supplement or further composted. The most common type of digester is called a “wet biodigester” because they are used to digest liquefied manure on farms around the world. Many people use wet digesters to produce methane from manure and then they use the methane to power their stoves and other appliances (Meynell, 1978). Compostable matter as well as slaughterhouse waste can be placed in a wet biodigester. However, all matter that goes into the digester must be pulverized in order to become water soluble. According to B. Xuan An et al. (1997) 15 liters of water are needed for every kilogram of manure. Even more water is needed for other material because manure already has high water content. Wet biodigesters need to be kept in a warm environment. If they are in a cold environment they need to be heated, which means more of the energy generated from the digester needs to go to its own heating. According to BioFerm Energy Systems, wet biodigesters use 10%-30% of the energy they generate in order to operate. Additional energy is also needed to treat waste water emerging from the system.  

Local Results:  During the past year, we process 10,000 tons of organics per year and 11,000 cubic yards of compost annually.

Weigh the Waste

Did you know that 40% of the food produced in our country is wasted?  Periodically throughout the school year, we conduct a Weigh the Waste event.   During the event, we weigh all of the uneaten food from guest’s plates.  We consolidate the findings and report back to the community.  We tie this to an awareness campaign that informs guests about food waste and its impact to our environment and our communities.  We hold frequent campaigns in which we compare our results (and hopefully see our waste decline).

Trayless Dining

Blackhawk Commons does not use trays to conserve on resources. Customers without trays typically waste less food and beverages. It is also a healthier approach to eating, as we all know that at times our eyes are bigger than our stomach. Trayless dining also reduces the amount of water and detergents needed to wash trays - and saves energy too!

Local Results:  We have been trayless since 2010. We estimate that we have saved 600,000 gallons of water since 2010 by having a trayless campus.

Xpressnap Dispensers

Xprss Nap Dispensers save energy and waste.  The napkins are made of 100% recycled paper and the dispenser will encourage customers to take (and waste) fewer napkins. Energy is saved because less power is used to recycle paper products than to create them from virgin material.

APEX Dishwashing System

APEX combines technology and products designed to save water and energy, minimize the impact of products on the environment, and has a built-in method of measuring results. By monitoring and improving, the system helps reduce the amount of water and energy used at each facility, and improve total operational efficiency.

Bulk Condiments

Individual packets of condiments are useful in some instances, but they result in extra waste. 

Recycling Fryer Oil into Biofuel

French fries to fuel.  Indeed, our fryer oil is recycled into biodiesel that is used to power a variety of vehicles - from delivery  fleets to farm equipment.

Local Results:  Last year we recycled 3776 gallons of fryer oil into biofuel. 

Reusable Cup Discount

The environment and your pocketbook win! Bring your own reusable cup to purchase coffee or a fountain soda on campus and receive a 10 cent discount at every location, every time.

Printing on Both Sides of the Paper

To save paper, we use paper with recycled content and we print on both sides whenever possible.

Reusable Dishware

We offer china dishes in our dining locations.  This reduces waste associated with using disposable containers.  Dining in?  Be sure to use china.  We also use china at our catered functions on site.

Green Cleaning

“Green Seal”

92% of the chemicals Sodexo uses are “Green Seal” certified, concentrated or sustainable.

Energy Reduction Efforts

Energy Star Appliances

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.  When replacing equipment Energy Star rated appliances are chosen. 

Recent Local Efforts:

  • The walk in coolers in Blackhawk have been replaced with Energy Efficient Scroll Compressors, insulated floor, and LED lighting, which saved approximately 30% on electric use just for those 5 walk ins located in Blackhawk.
  • New Air Handling Units in Blackhawk have replaced the original units and are computer controlled to minimize energy consumption.
  • Water and Energy efficient dishmachines in Blackhawk use less than 20% of the water used per day by the machines they replaced. 
  • New under counter dish machines purchased for use on campus have energy capturing technology to minimize heat and energy loss from steam.

Energy Efficient Lighting

Where feasible we have replaced our incandescent bulbs with LED lighting and energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to reduce our energy consumption.

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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh | Dining Services | Reeve Union | 748 Algoma Blvd. | Oshkosh, WI 54901 | tel. (920) 424-4330 | Contact Us