Our Partners

HFS has been able to make great strides in composting and recycling over the past couple of years, and that success is due in large part to the ongoing collaborations we have with our partners. It’s a team approach that includes students, other UW departments, vendors, suppliers and other civic and government agencies.  


Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED), a residence hall student group, helps to raise awareness and promote environmentally-sound practices in the residence halls among residents, staff and the Administration. The students’ energy, enthusiasm and commitment have had a huge impact especially by increasing the rate of composting and raising awareness about sustainability issues.

Our approach also ties in with students through class projects from the UW College on the Environment, who have advocated for zero-waste catered events.

Other UW Departments

UW Recycling partnered with HFS in early 2005 to launch single-stream recycling in the residence halls. On each floor and in our dining facilities, there now are recycling containers into which the residents put their paper, cans, bottles, cardboard and other recyclables. 

The E.Media (electronic media) recycling program was launched on the UW Seattle campus in April 2007. Designated bins are staged across campus, including in residence halls, for collection of CDs, DVDs, videotapes, audiotapes, cell phones and pagers, small electronics, inkjet and bubble jet printer cartridges, and batteries.

UW Recycling also worked with HFS to start a compost program in 2004 that collects the coffee grounds and pre-consumer vegetative food waste from HFS kitchens. The expanded program now includes compostable materials for customers in our restaurants and coffee shops.

Vendors and Suppliers

The local company Cedar Grove Composting composts all of the HFS food scraps as well as the compostable cups, plates and forks we use for eating, and has the capacity to take in up to 1,000 tons of food and yard waste each day. At the facility, rows of compost, called "heaps," are covered by a breathable cover (a kind of industrial Gore-Tex) and aerated from below. This process keeps the compost at the right temperature (approximately 165 degrees Fahrenheit) and the correct moisture level until fully composted in 60 days. 

In a two-year project, Coca-Cola® North America and International Paper teamed up with HFS and Cedar Grove Composting to create and introduce the ecotainer™ Coca-Cola® cup, the first compostable paper soft drink cup made from renewable resources. First introduced at HFS restaurants and cafés in January 2009, the cup is made of paper that comes from renewable, managed forests, has a lining made from plant material rather than plastic, and uses water-based inks. That means 150,000 cups a year can be composted instead of going to the landfill.

HFS also worked with International Paper to develop a new, compostable cornstarch-based cup lid. This product was introduced at HFS eateries in January 2010, in time for International Paper to ramp up production for the lid’s introduction at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver B.C.

Our partners in Dining Services are also making a difference by incorporating the sustainability philosophy into how and what they deliver to us. Our desire to make an impact on product stewardship (pushing for food packaging that is compostable and moving away from packaging whose only end use is as landfill) has led to our working with vendors to make the switch to more sustainable packaging for their food products.  

Civic Institutions, Educational Institutions and Government Agencies

Over time, we have developed our own sustainability program based on research and product testing. Because we believe in our program and the UW’s mission, we freely share our knowledge with Seattle businesses and community organizations wanting to start their own composting programs or use environmentally-friendly food packaging. We’ve worked with the city of Seattle and other government agencies to move sustainability practices forward.

We are now one of the largest end users of compostable service ware and a major participant in the collection of compost in food-service operations in the city of Seattle. We’ve been in a position for the past three years to support Seattle’s efforts to enact legislation that will serve as a model for other cities across the country and the globe.

In January 2009, when Seattle’s ordinance went into effect banning the use of Styrofoam in food-service operations, we had already banned its use in our food-service operations for a full year.

The most recent ordinance, which went into effect on July 1, 2010, calls for the switch from solid waste packaging to compostable packaging. During these changes, the UW supplied the model for the city of Seattle to point to during the transition from stakeholder discussions to enacted legislation.

HFS is happy to spread the word about driving sustainability through composting. We have met, toured and presented to the Seattle Center Food Courts, the Space Needle, the Woodland Park Zoo, UW Athletics, the Seattle Aquarium, Alaska Airlines, the city of Seattle, local schools and colleges, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Michigan State University, Seoul National University, Cascadia Consulting, 2 Degrees, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the National Association of College and University Food Services.


  • Civic Institutions
  • Educational Institutions
  • Government Agencies
  • Students
  • UW Departments
  • Vendors