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SUNY Cortland Dining is committed to promoting sustainability and minimizing negative externalities on the environment through reducing, reusing, and recycling. We have adopted many business practices to support local farms, reduce food waste, create sustainable meals, and educate the SUNY Cortland community on how they can support our sustainability initiatives. 

Our Commitments

Waste Reduction   

SUNY Cortland Dining Services identifies areas where food waste can be reduced by using the “LeanPath” measurement equipment and system.

We no longer use single-use plastic bags in our dining locations and continue to support the use of non-plastic foam cups in all of our retail locations. Retail dining facilities use biodegradable plastic containers as compostable grab-n-go containers and corn resin cutlery. Residential dining uses biodegradable containers and green reusable containers and cutlery. All napkins in our dining units are made from recycled paper. Plastic straws are replaced with biodegradable alternatives in most dining units.

Energy & Water Conservation   

The energy and water used in food preparation has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. We are dedicated to lowering energy needed in our production process and are making a conscious effort to conserve energy through using energy-efficient equipment.

To reduce the amount of water and chemicals needed to clean trays, we became trayless in all dining locations since 2012. One-quarter gallon of water is saved for each tray that would have been washed. A grey water system is installed in both Neubig and Bistro to filter and recycle water.

By using evaporator controls in walk-in coolers, our dining units are able to reduce fan usage and save up to 40% of energy.

In partnership with Pepsi, we are using Green Star energy-efficient vending machines.


We encourage all customers to participate in campus recycling efforts by placing recyclable waste in recycling bins. 100% of all eligible plastic and metal containers are recycled in our food production facilities.

Used vegetable fryer oil is recycled in our dining units by Baker Commodities in Syracuse, NY.

Both Neubig and the Bistro use a pulper and extractor to process food scraps. The waste goes to Natural Upcycling in Lynwood, NY. 


In addition to our commitment to practicing the “reduce, reuse, recycle” principle, we are adopting other best practices to reduce pollution on the environment and damage to the ecosystem.

We have switched to environmentally-friendly cleaning agents to minimize the impact that harsh chemicals have on the environment. Our purchasing initiatives strive to support sustainable supply chain practices that include purchasing locally and using more sustainable seafood.

Community Reinvestment   

We support and encourage charitable initiatives that enhance the wellbeing of the local community. All non-perishable food items remaining in dining halls before semester breaks are donated to local food pantries.

We have organized Can & Mitten Drives in collaboration with the PRIDE Committee to raise awareness for food insecurity and to help the Loaves & Fishes of Cortland County.

The SUNY Cortland Cupboard program provides free food support to all students in need of emergency food assistance. Non-perishable food items and other essential items are provided in a respectful and private manner to students experiencing food insecurity.

Plant-Forward Menu   

The production and consumption of animal products can contribute to rising greenhouse gas emissions. To provide a healthier and greener alternative, we are committed to increasing the number and variety of meatless and plant-based options in our dining locations.

Locally Connected   

Bringing a variety of delicious, nutritious, and globally-inspired meal options made from local produce has always been a priority of SUNY Cortland Dining. We purchase a significant share of our ingredients from local vendors with NY ties. These ingredients include locally-grown vegetables and fruits, as well as dairy, meat, and beverages.

We are proud to partner with the following vendors and feature their products on our menus:

  • Main Street Farms, Homer, NY.
  • Trinity Valley Dairy, Homer, NY.
  • Yolato Frozen Yogurt, Chatham, NJ.
  • Cortland Bottled Water, Concord, NY.
  • Greenware Products, Rochester, NY. 
  • Coffee Mania, Cortland, NY.  
  • Cornell Dairy, Ithaca, NY.
  • Agbotic Organic SmartFarms, Sackets Harbor, NY.
  • Bella’s Home Baked Goods, Highland, NY.
  • New York Malted Waffles, Weedsport, NY.
  • Stroehmann Bakeries, Syracuse, NY.
  • Cortland Produce, Cortland, NY.
  • Purdy & Sons, Sherburne, NY.
  • Tripi Foods, Buffalo, NY.
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