UCLA’s Bruin Plate, one of the country’s first health-oriented dining halls and winner of a sustainable food service award, recently added another feather to its cap when it earned a top rating of four stars from the Green Restaurant Association.

The rating makes UCLA only the third university in the nation with a four-star Certified Green Restaurant designation. The rating signifies that eating at Dining Service’s Bruin Plate, which opened in 2013, has a lower environmental cost than meals elsewhere.

Wheatberry, apricot and arugula salad is sometimes on the menu at Bruin Plate

The Green Restaurant Association credited Bruin Plate with 108 sustainable practices, from reducing waste by nearly 50 percent through recycling to including locally sourced and organic foods in its menu.

“Bruin Plate is incredibly excited to have earned this prestigious rating from the Green Restaurant Association, recognizing efforts to minimize our environmental impact and adopt sustainable food service practices, such as solar thermal water heating,” said Emma Sorrell, the sustainability manager for UCLA Housing and Hospitality Services. “Serving over 5,000 meals each day, Bruin Plate embodies UCLA’s commitment to demonstrating sustainable systems and solutions in action.”

Among its many sustainable practices, Bruin Plate uses:

  • Solar thermal water heating
  • Half LED lighting
  • Composting
  • Low-flow faucets and fixtures
  • Hydroponic gardens
  • E-waste recycling
  • Cardboard and paper recycling
  • Glass, aluminum and plastic recycling
  • Cooking oil recycling
  • Lighting sensors and timers
  • Energy star appliances
  • No plastic foam products

Among its sustainable food choices, Bruin Plate serves some portion of:

  • Organic tofu
  • Organic grains like quinoa, spelt, brown rice and buckwheat flour
  • Vegan main dishes
  • Local produce
  • Local meat
  • Sustainable and/or local seafood
  • Fair trade coffee and tea
  • Organic creamer and soy creamer
  • Eggs from cage-free and humanely raised chickens