Pepperdine Main Campus Cafeteria showing locally grown produce and recycled food containers.

Food systems represent a substantial impact on commerce, resources, and the health of an organization's constituents. The production of food can have direct negative impacts on air quality, drinking water, and health through exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

Green Box

In the month of September, 2013, almost 20,000 paper to-go boxes were used. Don't go paper, go Green Box.

In 2013, the Waves Cafeteria introduced the Green Box, a sustainable alternative to the paper to-go containers. Instead of the disposable, paper containers, the Green Box is made of sturdy, reusable plastic. To use a Green Box, find one in the Cafeteria or request one, then pay for your box at the register. Once you've used the Box, return it to the receptacle located next to the tray carousel in the Cafeteria. The receptacle will, in turn, give you a token, which you can use to get your next Green Box.


Organic food-produced without the use of pesticides, preservatives, or fertilizers emphasizes conservation and the use of renewable resources to enhance environmental quality. Pepperdine's food services vendor, Sodexo, offers several organic options including "grab and go" organic snacks, food bars, and juices. Sodexo has been expanding its purchasing of organic items, focusing primarily on produce.


Buying food locally can help reduce fossil fuel consumption and the need for preservatives, by decreasing the distance from field to table. It also supports local economy and business, giving Pepperdine and its students a closer connection to the people and place surrounding them. Currently, 38% of the food offered in the cafeteria comes from local sources.


Consumption of animal products stands to be one of the most crucial environmental issues of our time. Production of food from animals is much less efficient than the production of vegetables, grains, and fruits due to the amount of land, energy, and resources required to raise livestock. To produce one quarter-pound hamburger requires 6.7 pounds of grain and forage, 52.8 gallons of water, 74.5 square feet of land, and 1,036 BTUs for food production.

As a university committed to sustainability, Pepperdine must also be a university committed to healthy, sustainable food practices. As such, Sodexo provides vegetarian options at every meal. Currently, 20% of all meals served in the cafeteria are vegetarian.

Local & Organic Fresh Produce Boxes Available at Pepperdine

In order to provide our community additional healthy food options, Pepperdine University is proud to partner with Farm Fresh To You, which provides local organic produce from a farm in the Imperial Valley. Local food reduces the vehicle miles traveled and supports your local community, while organic ensures there are no chemicals polluting water systems or your body. Moreover, the produce is only seasonally available so you are eating the way nature intended with lots of variety in your diet. The produce is fresh, picked daily, and arrives at Pepperdine University every Wednesday. You can customize the selection of fruits and veggies as well as the frequency of your pick-up from weekly to monthly. Order directly through their website: and use promo code: 4866.

Reduction in Waste

Pepperdine utilizes a point system for students to buy their meals throughout the year, instead of an open buffet style, significantly reducing the amount of food waste. Dining services provides non-disposable plates and cutlery thereby minimizing the use of disposable items. Users of our dining facilities are encouraged not to take disposable containers and cutlery unless they are taking their meals off-site.

Reusable water bottles are sold in the Malibu bookstore to encourage students not to use disposable cups. Styrofoam is prohibited throughout campus and has been replaced by biodegradable to-go containers and ecotainers. Pepperdine also uses 100% recycled janitorial products.

Composting and Recycling

Sodexo collects all food waste produced in the Caf' during meal prep. Our waste hauler, Waste Management, collects this food waste three times a week and takes it to the Agromin composting facility in Oxnard.

Food Recovery Network

Pepperdine's Food Recovery Network is a student-led club on campus whose mission is to fight food waste and feed people in need. They have been working closely with Sodexo, our dining service provider, to recover leftover food from Starbucks as well as other catering events on campus. If you are planning on hosting an event with catered food on campus, please fill out the form to arrange a recovery so that nothing goes to waste!