At RISD Dining, we’ve made sustainability a core value. We understand that in retail, one of our key responsibilities is to develop awareness among our customers, inform their buying decisions and promote socially and environmentally responsible consumption. In response, we worked with two graphic design students to develop the green check mark feature that identifies our green practices to our customers.

Committed to having a positive presence in the local community, RISD Dining Services developed the C.A.R.E.S program (Community, Action/Awareness, Recycling, Environment and Sustainability). We use this program as a means of making thoughtful decisions and promoting open dialogue. Examples are:


  • Commitment to purchasing local food, which cuts down on energy consumption and stimulates the local economy
  • Maintain a strong relationship with Farm Fresh RI, which enables us to purchase much of our produce locally throughout the year and receive these items through their market mobile
  • Purchase all milk from Rhody Fresh Milk, a local cooperative that ensures we are getting fresh milk produced by local farms that do not use artificial growth hormones. By doing so, we also support Rhode Island’s dairy farmers, and helping to preserve local farms, pastures and open spaces for generations to come.
  • Support community-minded initiatives on campus — water and soup seminars, fundraisers for local and global causes
  • Support the Rhode Island Food Bank
  • Support Amos House (a local soup kitchen/homeless shelter), Genesis Center (adult education) and Farm Fresh RI with an internship/mentor program


  • Reduce. Our bottled water purchases by at least 70% (2400 cases annually) over the past 3 years.
  • Strengthen our ties to local communities by utilizing local businesses and services whenever possible.
  • Use a selection criterion for all contracted vendors partially based on their environmental practices and record.
  • Consider environmental factors when purchasing new or replacement equipment.
  • Organize many special events that feature a local component. Example: our 100 mile Thanksgiving meal, emphasizing ingredients that come from within a 100 mile radius.
  • Use accurate menu forecasting from our food management software to match food production to usage.
  • Promote Natural Meats — We offer hamburgers made of beef from humanely raised cows fed a vegetarian diet with no additional antibiotics beef and all chicken used in our premier entrées is from free-roaming, all natural fowl.
  • Promote Fair Trade — Fair Trade products are certified to ensure that producers in developing countries work in safe conditions and receive a living wage. Fair Trade, organic coffee roasted by a regional roaster is available in all dining venues.
  • Work with student groups and take part in Earth Day collaborations
  • Use social media to expose food/environmental concerns


  • RISD Dining partners with Waste Management to recycle cardboard, tin, glass and plastic.
  • Help reduce waste by looking for recycling bins in all RISD facilities and by taking only the amount of food you can eat.
  • RISD won “Recycle Mania” in its first year for bottles and cans.
  • Send fry oil to Newport Biodiesel to create a clean burning biodiesel to heat homes and power vehicles throughout Rhode Island.
  • Use the OZZI closed loop to-go system and removed most of the disposable containers from campus. The diverted 10,000 cubic feet paper from our waste stream.


  • Use EcoLogic cleaning chemicals which meet the 42 standards created by Green Seal Inc., a nonprofit environmental group that began certifying cleaning products as Earth-friendly in 2000. To earn and use the Green Seal logo, cleansers must be biodegradable, sold in recycled packaging, and free of chlorine, carcinogens, harmful vapors and other toxins that could hurt people or aquatic life.
  • Partnering with PF trading to have compostable items hauled to local wind-row farm.
  • Purchase Energy Star equipment.
  • The bottled water we sell is ‘harvested’ sustainably from a local source and the bottles are bio-degradable.
  • To-go boxes are made from post-consumer recycled plastic and are compostable.
  • To-go beverage cups are compostable and recyclable and made from .
  • Many of our paper products are made from recycled material that is unbleached and dioxin-free.
  • Our linen supplier, Falvey, has been a charter member of the Laundry Environmental Stewardship Program since its inception in 1999.


  • Purchase locally grown fruit when available.
  • Organic foods served include, whole wheat pasta, legumes, whole grains, tofu, soy milk and granolas.
  • Watermark sources local or organic ingredients and serves seasonal locavore salads.
  • Utilize biodegradable service ware at catered events.
  • Work to follow NOAA Fish Watch guidelines for choosing sustainably harvested seafood or appropriate alternatives.
The Providence River and cityscape as seen from the southern edge of campus, behind the Industrial Design and
Architecture buildings.