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The mission of Northwestern Dining is to educate students, engage the community, and enrich the Northwestern experience by offering one of the most unique and pioneering campus meal programs in the nation.

Making Tomorrow Better Today!

Choose to Reuse Program:

Anxious about missing out on a meal because of a jam packed schedule? Worry no more. With the Choose to Reuse Program, you can take food to-go from Elder Hall. For just $5 per year, you will receive a Program Card that allows you the option to take-out food exclusively from Elder Hall. When you want a to-go container, simply tell the cashier before swiping that you want to Choose to Reuse! The cashier will take your program card in exchange for a clean reusable container.  When you are done, rinse your container and return it to Elder Hall.  In exchange for your rinsed container, you will receive either a program card to use again later or another clean container to take food to-go again!

Our new Choose to Reuse program is only valid at Elder Hall, and no other dining hall participates in the program or allows food to be taken out of the unit. Our new Choose to Reuse program allows your student to save their cash and use their meal plan daily for take-out! With Elder Halls new late-night options and extended hours, your student won't ever go hungry!

Join us in our efforts in making Northwestern University #1 in Sustainable Initiatives and invest in your Choose to Reuse Program Card here or by visiting Elder today! 


Waste Reduction

  • Plant Package Beverages
    • We sell Dasani and Odwalla beverages that use PlantBottle packaging and are 100% recyclable. The process of making these bottles results in zero deforestation and less environmental damage.
  • Napkins
    • Our napkins are made of 100% recycled paper fiber, which has a significantly lower material intensity than virgin paper. By using these napkins we have saved over 300,000 gallons of water and reduced CO2 emissions by 97%. Our Tork one-at-a-time napkin dispensers ensure that patrons use fewer napkins and touch only the napkin they use, improving personal hygiene and providing up to a 25% reduction in napkin usage.
  • Cups & Soup Bowls
    • Willie's Food Court has eliminated the black foam eat-in plate and Styrofoam soup bowls. We now use sustainable paper boats, potato-ware plates and eco-friendly soup bowls that are made from recycled paper with a corn starch based lining on the inside.
    • All resident and retail locations have switched from Styrofoam to go cups to more sustainable paper to go cups
    • Our Reusable Container Policy encourages students to use reusable containers when getting refills on drip coffee, as well as fountain drinks, at the cost of $1.25 plus tax in any mug (up to 20 oz), in all retail locations. This promotion does not include coffee machines in Residential Retail including Peet's Coffee machine in Hinman and the Starbucks Coffee machine in Foster-Walker C-Stores. 
    • In Residential Retail, receive a discount of $0.25 per cup of coffee beverages from our Peet's Coffee and Starbucks Coffee deluxe coffee machines.
    • We offer BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug) in Residential Dining. BYOM encourages students to bring their own reusable mugs to dining halls. With a dining meal swipe, a student may eat and then use their reusable mug to fill up on coffee and/or tea for on the go. 
  • Trayless Dining
    • We have gone to tray-free dining in 5 of our 6 Dining Halls, by doing so we can reduce the amount of food waste by roughly one ounce per plate. Going trayless has saved Northwestern Dining 200 gallons of water for every 1,000 meals served! 
    • Washing one tray uses 1.5 KW of electricity. By going trayless, Northwestern Dining reduces its energy consumption and carbon footprint, and saves hundreds of dollars in electricity spending per day. Trayless dining therby prevents excess grease and detergents from being washed down drains and reduces food waste by encouraging students to take only what they can carry and eat.
  • Composting
    • Composting is the latest effort to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill. Composting provides a more environmentally friendly use for our food waste that cannot be donated, like preparation scraps and plate leftovers, as well as our paper waste, like napkins and paper cups.
    • We compost in all five of our Resident Dining Halls as well as the Norris Center. Northwestern Dining is not only trying to play their part, but we are making an effort to educate students, staff and faculty on the benefits of composting by providing lists at all our sites of what is/not compostable. 
  • Cooking oil reuse
    • Chicago Biofuels collects and filters our used cooking oil, then Loyola's Clean Energy Program converts it into biodiesel. Every week, 100 gallons of this biodiesel are used in our Free Enterprise shuttle buses! They glycerin byproducts of the process are turned into soap that is used at Loyola, and the entire operation supports research to support other ways to generate renewable energy from traditional waste materials. 
    • We also provide used cooking oil to Northwestern University in order to conduct research.
  • Ecolab soaps and cleansers
    • We purchase our cleaning supplies from Ecolab to minimize application of harmful chemicals. The Wash 'n Walk floor cleanser that we use in our kitchens is completely biodegradable and requires no rinsing, thereby saving 10-20 gallons per application!
  • Meatless Options
    • On average, meat takes many more resources to produce and serve. Going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. The dining halls take part in MeatLESS Monday, while still providing meat options, Mondays feature a wider variety of meatless options as an ongoing program. We offer a wide selection of Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free options at every meal. Twice we have been recognized as Peta2's Most Vegetarian Friendly College. 


Northwestern University | Dining Services | 2122 Sheridan Road | Room J147 | Evanston, IL 60201 | tel. 847-491-2020 | Contact Us