We are working to reduce the environmental impact of SAC’s operations, such as in our dining hall, cleaning and custodial practices, and purchasing.
At SAC, we are working to reduce the eco-footprint of our food service operations by reducing waste, and, where possible, supporting local producers of food, which has secondary benefits of supporting the local economy and reducing food miles and greenhouse gas emissions created by transporting food long distances.
A move to trayless dining has reduced food waste considerably, and any food waste that is leftover is collected and sent to a composting company, instead of going to landfill. We have also introduced biodegradable food serviceware that can go into the compost instead of the garbage.
In terms of eating local foods, we grow our own kitchen herbs in a greenhouse on campus, so the boys can enjoy home-grown parsley, basil, oregano, and other herbs in their meals throughout the year. Plus, we purchase local bread, dairy products, poultry, and fresh fruit juices. Going forward, we want to increase the amount of local food we buy, and by doing so, teach students what it means to eat seasonally and sustainably.
Every product SAC purchases for use in the School has environmental impacts: “upstream” in the extraction of natural resources, manufacturing, transportation, and packaging, and “downstream” in the operation, final disposal, recycling, or re-use of products. So we want to be mindful of all these issues when making purchasing decisions.
Some examples of how SAC is making greener decisions on the purchasing front include: buying Fair Trade coffee; using paper with higher recycled content; using Energy Star certified appliances and equipment; and using cleaning products with fewer chemicals. Also, all of the computers we purchase are certified as Silver by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). Future possibilities include switching to eco-friendly paints, furniture, and fixtures.
In addition, our goal is to reduce SAC’s eco-footprint by using less in the first place. For example, SAC’s Environmental Plan set the goal of reducing paper consumption by 15%. The School’s shift to tablet computers, combined with efforts to educate everyone about how to save paper helped us to achieve this goal.