UC Irvine is the current Grand Prize Winner of the NACUFS award for Sustainability. The NACUFS Sustainability Awards annually recognize and honor member institutions that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the promotion and implementation of environmental sustainability, specifically as it relates to campus dining operations. For more information about the awards, check out this link: https://www.nacufs.org/sustainability-awards

We work together to continually develop and implement sustainable solutions. Through Green Thread, our environmental sustainability platform, we bring innovative and efficient solutions to life. We are passionately focused on reducing the environmental impact within our operations.To learn more about our sustainability programs and initiatives, you can read our highlights and guidebook.

Sustainable Dining 

Here are just a few ways we work to make our campus more environmentally conscious:

One Mile Meals


We are proud to announce the launch of our new One Mile Meals program, UCI’s first on-campus vertical garden! The new garden is in the patio area of The Anteatery and will grow leafy greens, squash, tomatoes, herbs, and more! All of the produce is being used for locations within a one-mile radius, like The Anteatery, and some produce is being donated to the FRESH Basic Needs Hub. Compared to traditional farming, this aeroponic garden uses 90% less water, grows 2-3 times faster, and can grow 10 times the amount of food in the same amount of space.

One Mile Meals 

One Mile Meals

Reusable Cup Discount


Receive a discount when you use a reusable cup for fountain beverages and coffee in any dining location and help reduce waste. UCI Dining has also partnered with The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF), UCI Facilities Management, and UCI Housing to offer several hydration stations throughout campus. Use the filtered water stations to stay refreshed and limit your carbon footprint.

Reusable Cup Discount



Free Coffee Grounds Program

On a first come, first-serve basis, you can go to Zot N Go and pick up a package of coffee grounds at no charge. The coffee grounds are dried and packaged in single serving portions for your convenience. The bags used to hold the grounds are recycled; we use the bags that some coffee grounds are originally packaged in.

In addition to gardening, coffee grounds can be used for DIY projects such as face masks, candles, soaps, and air fresheners. On each package, you’ll find tips and recipes to help you get started.

If you would like a large package of coffee grounds for your garden or event, please fill out this form.

Reusable To-Go Program


Getting your meal to go from The Anteatery or Brandywine? Take part in our Reusable To-Go Container and Cup program. 
Here's how it works: 
1. Visit The Anteatery or Brandywine and ask for a reusable to-go container or cup.
2. A $6.00 container and $4.00 cup can be purchased with cash, credit card, FlexDine, or Zot Bucks.
3. Fill your container up with any of your favorite menu items and fill your cup with coffee, tea, soda, or water.
4. Return the dirty container or cup for a clean one or request a "rain check" card.
Containers and cups are yours to keep, or return it so it can be used again in the future.

Certified Green Restaurant


Previously the East Food Court, including Bene Pasta, Organic Greens To Go, and Topio's, were 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant. We had implemented 50 steps and earned 182.86 GreenPoints™. With the new installments of the Planteatery and Bento Sushi, we are working towards continuing the certification process this year.

Green Resturant

Local Purchasing


UCI Dining sources food from many local farmers, growers, and distributors. Our partners change throughout the year depending on seasonality and availability. Check our map below to see what farms we purchased from!

  • Fresh Origins (San Marcos, CA)
  • Polito Family Farms (Valley Center, CA)
  • Henry Avocado (Escondido, CA)
  • Calco Farms (Arcadia, CA)
  • Alta Dena (La Puente, CA)
  • Boskovich Farms (Oxnard, CA)
  • Muranaka Farms (Los Angeles, CA)
  • JJ's Lone Daughter Ranch (Redlands, CA)
  • Babe Farms (Santa Maria, CA)
  • Bee Sweet Citrus (Fowler, CA)

Fair Trade University

As of May 4, 2018, UCI became a Fair Trade University! Fair Trade is an economic system that ensures consumers the products they buy were grown, harvested, crafted, and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognizes schools in the US committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products, like coffee, tea, and bananas in the cafeteria, offices and at events. Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, UCI Dining held seven educational events, added Fair Trade products to thirteen of its locations, and collaborated with The Hill to ensure Fair Trade options were available through the student bookstore. In May 2018, UC Irvine signed a resolution, which was supported by the Associate Chancellor of Sustainability, Wendell Brase. Visit Fair Trade Campaign’s website to learn more about this initiative!



UCI Dining partners with the campus to recycle commingled, cardboard, and food waste from all dining locations across campus. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. Look for signs in our dining locations for more information on where to put your recyclable material! 

The Anteatery, Brandywine, Zot N Go, P.O.D. Convenience Stores, and the Bren Events Center, including concessions, are all Zero Waste facilities that compost and recycle at least 90% of their materials! All service-ware is reusable in the dining commons, including cups, plates, and utensils. Additionally, recycling bins are available at all retail dining locations to dispose of your recyclable items, such as glass and plastic bottles. These efforts ensure that we minimize our footprint on the environment while also maximizing global sustainability. 

We also practice post-consumer waste diversion at Phoenix Food Court, West Food Court, East Food Court, and BC's Cavern Food Court. Beginning in Fall 2018, we introduced new recycling bins in West and East Food Court (pictured above). In traditional recycling bins, liquids and ice can contaminate paper products and render them non-recyclable. These new bins allow guests to pour their liquids and ice down the first compartment and disposing their cup, lid, and other clean plastics and paper in the other. If you're ever unsure where your waste goes when you dine at any of these locations, just look for our helpful signs. All the items on these signs come directly from the respective food court to make it easier for you to see what goes where and help contribute to the goal of reaching Zero Waste.

Cage-Free Eggs


Dining proudly serves 100% cage-free eggs. Organic eggs are produced from free-range hens with no hormone or antibiotic treatment, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These hens are allowed to roam freely outside a poultry barn, rather than housed in battery cages. The Humane Society of the United States supports free-range treatment of hens as it allows them to partake in natural activities, such as scratching and dust bathing as needed. In addition, organic egg farming contributes to sustainable dining practices by producing less environmental pollution than battery-cage farming.

Be a Planteater

UCI supports sustainable eating practices by indicating which dishes are vegetarian or vegan and encouraging students to be a Planteater. Additionally, there are accompanying Watermark Identifiers in all residential dining locations on an everyday basis to communicate to students the high water usage of dishes containing meat. By highlighting this information, students are able to make informed choices about the foods they eat. To learn more, visit http://meatlessmonday.com/

Sustainable Take-Out Containers

UCI Dining is proud to offer Styrofoam-free containers at all our retail locations. In addition, Dining offers compostable paper containers at every location.

Energy & Water Conservation

We train our employees each quarter on everyday energy and water conservation practices in order to conserve earth's precious resources.

Fryer Oil Recycling

One hundred percent of dining services used fryer oil is recycled into biodiesel.

Trayless Dining

Did you know UCI Dining has been trayless since 2008? By dining trayless, you have helped positively impact the environment by minimizing food waste, conserving energy and water as well as reducing the amount of cleaning chemicals entering the waste stream.

Green Cleaning

All dining locations are committed to using green cleaning products in our operations to reduce the need for chemical based cleaning products and provide a healthy and safe learning environment.