Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dining Hall Waste Awareness Events

Would shoveling a plate of leftover food from your lunch into a bucket of wasted pizza, burritos, and salad motivate you to take less food next time? Maybe it would make you more aware of the impact of your choices and lead to more consciousness about the food on your plate. This exercise certainly raised some eyebrows this afternoon at the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall during the lunch hour, where a waste awareness event took place.


Over the past few weeks in dining halls across campus, student volunteers led by Victoria Salas, Chancellor's Undergraduate Intern for Sustainability in Dining, have been providing dining hall-goers with this opportunity to see how much waste they and their peers have generated over the course of a meal.

Rather than put their leftover waste on the conveyor belt with their dishes, where it magically disappears behind the corner, students faced their waste by adding it to the pile. There was also a display where volunteers placed especially wasteful items, such as full slices of pizza, unopened bananas that were thrown away, half-eaten burgers, and perfectly good curly fries.


Students who came to the waste assessment stations with a clean plate received a sticker that read "I ate my plate!" Some students expressed interest in learning more about waste efforts on campus during the awareness event, and many expressed feeling guilty for having wasted so much food. Over time, these reminders will hopefully lead to less food waste.

Each assessment lasts an hour, collecting any and all waste from used plates and cups. Most of the student volunteers helping at these events work on other sustainability projects on campus. During today's assessment, Kevin Green of the Student Environmental Center's Waste Prevention Campaign, Natalie Tran of the Campus Sustainability Internship Program and Food Systems Working Group, and Melissa Ott of the Education & Outreach Team in the Sustainability Office were part of the team. Throughout the past few weeks, many other student sustainability community members have helped out with these collaborative awareness events.

There will be at least one more waste awareness event in the dining halls this month in the Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall on Thursday, February 21 during dinner. If you want to receive a snazzy sticker to proudly display your zero waste efforts, be sure to stop by and be conscious at the counter so you can "eat your plate" and have zero waste, too!


View the full photo album from today's waste audit at the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall on Facebook here.

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