At Pitt we strive to build food systems that support a healthy body and a healthy planet, strengthen local communities, and minimize waste.
Real Food Challenge at Pitt
In March 2015, the University of Pittsburgh committed to the Real Food Challenge with a goal of serving 20% local, fair, ecologically sound, and humane foods by 2020. At the time, only 9% of food served at Pitt’s primary dining hall (now The Eatery, formerly “Market Central) fit the criteria of meeting at least one of the four requirements. To date, 90 separate university campuses (42 schools and 4 statewide systems) have signed on to the Challenge.
In early 2018, Pitt Dining announced it met its 20% Real Food goal at Market Central, Pitt’s main dining hall, two years early. At the same time, as part of the Pitt Sustainability Plan, the University strengthened its overall commitment to serve 25% Real Food campus-wide by 2025.
A team of interns help the University of Pittsburgh document its progress on Real Food annually. Progress is reported on our Food Systems dashboard, which shows 14% Real Food was served campus-wide in fiscal year 2022.
In 2019, the University of Pittsburgh was among the first signatories — and one of the first universities worldwide — to join in the CoolFood Pledge, a global initiative led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) to cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.
Food Recovery Heroes
Food Recovery Heroes is the University of Pittsburgh’s student chapter of the national Food Recovery Network. The Food Recovery Network unites students at colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus food from campus dining halls and donating it to local hunger-fighting agencies.
Pitt has water bottle refilling stations throughout campus for easy access to a refill & to encourage reusable beverage containers.
Bring your own bag instead of paying a 25¢ bag fee & help the environment. This program has prevented over 770,000 single-use plastic bags from being used on campus—a 95% reduction!
Compostables on Campus
You can compost across campus at a number of locations . Learn more about what you can compost and where.
Choose to Reuse
Every month, Pitt’s Pittsburgh campus uses nearly 50,000 single-use disposable cups for beverages and 225,000 to-go packages for food. The majority of this single-use, disposable packaging is not recyclable on- or off-campus — and thus end up in the landfill. Plastic pollution and litter have an enormous detrimental environmental impact on our ecosystems.
The University of Pittsburgh’s goal is to serve half of all to-go meals and beverages in reusable containers by 2025. Please help us get there by participating in the “Choose to Reuse” Reusable Container Program.
Order your meal in a reusable container at participating dining locations and help reduce single-use disposable to-go containers on campus. All students and employees with a Panther Card receive their first reusable container for free! Learn more here!
- The Eatery in Litchfield Towers
- The Perch in Sutherland Hall
- The Market at Towers in Litchfield Towers
- The Market at Sutherland in Sutherland Hall
- Create in Schenley Cafe (William Pitt Union)
- Ft. Pitt Subs in Schenley Café (William Pitt Union)
- True Burger in Schenley Cafe (William Pitt Union)
Locations Coming Soon
- PA Taco in Schenley Café
- Wicked Pies in Schenley Café
Where to Return Used Containers
- Sutherland Hall Lobby
- The Eatery in Litchfield Towers
- Schenley Café in William Pitt Union