Food waste is one of the most abundant materials contributing to landfills in the United States, it is estimated that 96% of uneaten food ends up in landfills. College campus cafeterias alone generate a large amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. Universities across the country are making efforts to capture and compost excess food waste. To combat this issue of excess waste here on the college campus, The Office for The Common Good and Notre Dame dining are operating together to perform various duties to prevent excess food from ending up in landfills.


Saint Mary's College has aimed to be a leader and role model in sustainable operations. The College has recognized its responsibility to conserve the natural environment while promoting social justice for all members of society while working to focus on the connection between environmental stewardship and the Common Good by introducing the Food Waste Fighters group.


Food Waste Fighters is a program that handles the excess waste of food from the dining hall. This group's main function is to handle the composting of food and donating leftovers to local organizations in the community. This group of student leaders creates an atmosphere where students can actively engage in the maintenance of their campus community and environment. For over five years Saint Mary's College has been working towards educating its students about the importance of composting on campus and has introduced the concept of separating food waste. In one year alone, the group was able to save around 2,000 pounds of food from the landfill in the 2020-2021 academic year with the Food Waste Fighter group.

  • Composting - With the help of student leaders and volunteers, we are able to compost during both lunch and dinner meal times. The collected compost is taken from the dining hall to the Sustainable Farm, where it will be turned regularly and then used as fertilizer. Students can do their part by following the posters and composting the appropriate food or volunteering to take the compost back to the farm.
  • Food Recovery - Another way we reduce food waste on campus is through the recovery program. At the end of the dinner meal, students collaboratively work with kitchen staff to weigh the leftover food from the day. The food is then taken to South Bend's Center for the Homeless where they're able to reheat the food and give it to the residents.