Eating on Campus

McMaster University's Hospitality Services not only offer a variety of food options such as vegetarian and Halal, but are on the cutting edge of maintaining social and environmental stewardship with their products, services and facilities.

Locally Grown & Organic

The large majority of food purchased and sold at McMaster comes from within Ontario. In addition, Bridges Café is the campus’ main source for local and organic food. Here are some of the facts about organic food at Bridges:

  • All grains used are organic
  • Bridges offers organic apples and pears
  • Most confectionary sold is organic. You can find organic jellybeans that come in a paper packaging instead of a flashy plastic one.
  • Look at the Bridges menu where you will be able to see what options are organic

Bridges Herb Garden

Bridges Café grows its own herbs which are used in many of their dishes.

Bonus: The Chef Manager at Bridges has assured that local and/or organic food is purchased whenever possible, beyond the standard items listed above.

Takeout Containers and Tableware

How much do you know about Hospitality Services' takeout containers and tableware?

Find out now:

1. You purchase a veggie wrap from Café One in MDCL. The clear container it comes in is:

a) Plastic
b) Oxo-degradable, so it can be composted
c) Oxo-degradable, so it can be put into the garbage
d) Biodegradable made from corn
e) Biodegradable, made from sugarcane and wild reed

2. You go to Bridges for lunch and you decide on the soup. The spoon you get to go is:

a) Plastic, so it can be recycled
b) Oxo-degradable, so it can be recycled
c) Oxo-degradable, so it can be put into the garbage
d) Biodegradable made from corn
e) Biodegradable, made from sugarcane and wild reed

3. At La Piazza you order pasta to go. Is the closable container it comes in actually cardboard or is it one of the following:

a) Biodegradable made from sugarcane and wild reed
b) Something I should throw in the garbage
c) Compostable
d) All of the above
e) Of course it is cardboard, what else would it be?

Answers and Explanations:

1. d)
2. c)
3. d)

Now that you are probably really confused, here is the lowdown:

The following locations have been retrofitted with environmentally conscious take-out container and cutlery:

  • Bridges (Refectory)
  • Café One (MDCL)
  • La Piazza (MUSC)
  • East Meets West Bistro (Mary E. Keyes Residence)
  • CaFFeINe (BSB)


Clear Plastic Takeout Containers

All clear plastic takeout containers from Bridges, Café One, La Piazza, and CaFFeINe, are made from corn and are 100% biodegradable. Learn more.


  • Made from 100% renewable resources, not petroleum
  • The container is compostable and recyclable at McMaster (but not in the City of Hamilton)
  • The containers are shipped to the university in stackable and returnable plastic crates, not cardboard
  • The corn is sourced from the regional supply which is more than enough to meet the needs of the production company and local feed and ethanol production in the area
  • There is a mix of GMO and non-GMO corn because they source only corn within a 30 mile radius of Blair, NE, where the plant is located


All single-use cutleries from Hospitality Services (not just at the 5 locations listed above) are Oxo-biodegradable. Learn More about POLAR ECOPRO.


  • A special additive allows polypropylene special degradation properties
  • Rapid oxidative degradation allows for the utensils to transform into a fine powder that bacteria and other microorganisms can digest
  • These are not compostable, they are meant for the waste stream currently because they can only be recycled in systems that allow polypropylene

Closeable Hot-Food Takeout Containers

All closeable, hot-food takeout containers from Bridges, Café One, La Piazza and CaFFeINe are 100% biodegradable and made from the raw materials of sugarcane and wild reed. Learn more about Seeker Green.


  • Manufactured in China
  • 100% biodegradable; therefore compostable
  • The company has a certification of Environmental Choice Program and is a member of ONEIA
  • Sugarcane and wild reed are annually renewable; having less than a one-year growth lifespan and are not genetically modified
  • The company uses reclaimed agricultural products such as post-harvested agricultural waste
  • Compared to the alternative, there is less water, electricity and energy needed for production
  • There is no wood used; therefore no tree cutting
  • There is no bleach and no coating used
  • There is no liquid, solid or gas waste produced
  • All excess trim is used as raw materials

All other Hospitality locations, excluding the five locations listed above, currently use regular plastic products.

PLEASE NOTE: when sustainable products are not available due to back order, regular plastic and/or foam products are provided instead. Please check the product label to be sure.

Look to the "Reports and Publications" section to find more information on the above products and companies.

December 19, 2011

News & Events


Peta2’s Most Vegetarian Friendly University competition came to a close on November 15, 2010, and McMaster took the top spot in the Canadian bracket for the second year in a row as the winner of the Most Vegan-Friendly Colleges competition!