Food Choices

Support Local Eateries

Enjoy all the locally owned restaurants in Meadville to discover delicious surprises you’d never find at a chain restaurant. It’s definitely easy to find a perfect burger or the best chicken wings, but there’s also a lot of vegetarian and vegan options in Meadville. Try the “BP Veggie Burger” at the Firehouse Tap & Grille (it tastes eerily meaty), a fried veggie burger at Julian’s, or a black bean burger at the Market House Grille. You can score tofu-centric entrees at Mad Hatter’s Southwest Grill, Yummy Asian Restaurant, and Timber Creek Tap & Table. Grab a cup of locally roasted coffee at The French Creek Coffee and Tea Co., locally brewed beer at Voodoo Brewery, or hard cider or wine at Davenport Fruit Farm.

Market House Grille Documentary

Shop Bulk (and Low-Waste)

It’s easy to minimize the impact of your shopping in Meadville by taking advantage of many low/zero-waste shopping opportunities. You can buy milk in exchangeable glass bottles at the Market House and bring reusable jars and bags to fill up with bulk coffee, dry goods, nuts, fruit, spices, herbs, tea, and peanut butter. Simply get your tare weight at the register before you start filling. You can also get bulk soaps at the Green Shoppe around the corner and more herbs than you can imagine at Indigo Boutique & Botanica on Chestnut street. Tops and Giant Eagle have bulk sections. Start a bulk shopping bag to gather all your empty jars and bags, so you’re always ready to grab it when you’re headed to the store.

Low-Impact Meal Choices

Add more plant-based dishes and meals to your diet. You might choose to put more plants and less meat on your plate at each meal or be vegan until dinner. Or commit to a Meatless Monday or completely cut meat or other animal products from your diet. All these choices contribute to an overall diet that has less environmental impact which is essential as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states. The IPCC recently reported on the importance of changing our diets to protect against deforestation.

Shop Local

The Meadville Market House, aka the “Heart of Meadville,” is the oldest, continuously operated market structure in the state of Pennsylvania. During the growing season, you’ll find it circled by local farmers vending their products, ranging from flowers to vegetables to apple cider. Inside you’ll find dairy, eggs, meats, local honey and maple syrup, bulk goods, organic and gourmet foods alongside artisan crafts and other surprises. Grab a baked sweet or soft pretzel from the Save Room for Dessert bakery, or a meal at Zest Kitchen or the Market House Grille, all housed within the Market House.

Meadville Market House

Reuse as a Habit

So much waste could be avoided if we all practiced daily habits of reuse rather than defaulting to single-use disposables. Allegheny has created sustainable systems (Green Box program, water refill stations, #SporkTheQuad) but students drive the success through individual (and collective) habits. You never leave your room without your phone, keys, and ID. Add to that habit: never leave without your reusable bottle/cup, spork, token or box. It’s not hard. It just requires practice until it’s a habit that contributes to positive change.

Reusable Water Bottles

  • We waste more than 110,000 single use cups annually on campus, but we are driving that number down by giving every incoming student a stainless steel water bottle or travel mug of their choice and offering reduced prices on refills in McKinley’s. 
  • We’ve installed dozens of filtered water refill stations across campus to encourage students to refill a reusable bottle rather than purchasing bottled water. Student research indicates 40 percent of first-year students, but only 10 percent of third- and fourth-year students drink bottled water. 
  • Bottled water isn’t the only source of unnecessary single-use plastic bottles on campus. Before you grab a bottle of soda or tea from the coolers in McKinley’s, consider refilling your reusable bottle/cup at the fountain instead. You’ll save a dollar and reduce your waste every time you do. More than 90 percent of plastic is NOT ultimately recycled after collection, even if you get it into the recycling bin. 
  • Our straws have been compostable since 2008. Still, we dispose of 39,000 single-use straws annually on campus. It’s easy to quit the straw habit by carrying and refilling your own bottle/cup with a straw.

Green Box Tokens (Reusable Takeout)

We waste nearly 200,000 single-use takeout boxes annually on campus – that’s enough to fill Mellon pool twice! We created the green box (reusable takeout) program to significantly reduce the waste associated with our dining services. Every student has a credit for a FREE green box on their student ID and can simply swap their box for a token for a box, repeatedly. Clip your token holder to your keys so you always have your token at the ready.

Reusable Utensil(s)

In 2018, we kicked off the academic year with #SporkTheQuad and we’re still handing out sporks to students today. Before then, we disposed of 275,000 single-use utensils annually on campus. By carrying a reusable utensil in your bag/backpack and consistently reusing it, you can prevent dozens if not hundreds of utensils from entering our landfill annually.

Compostable Dining

Allegheny College switched to compostable dining ware in the early 2000s when we started a large-scale, on-campus composting operation. But we’re committed to reducing single-use items, not just diverting them from a landfill.

More Sustainability Actions