A total of 222.8 pounds of food, or 0.15 pounds per person, wad, or 0.15 pounds per person, was wasted during a two-hour period in Eickhoff dining hall, according to Water Watch.
Students were required to scrape the leftover food off their plates into bins at the tray drop-off in Eickhoff Hall on Thursday, March 22 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The scraps were later weighed and the number of students who entered the dining hall during that period was calculated in 15-minute intervals. At the end of the day, the 222.8 pounds of food wasted was divided by the 1,498 people who were served in Eickhoff, coming to 0.15 lbs of food leftover per person.
“We want to generate awareness between Sodexho and the students to reduce food waste,” Meagan Terry, Student Government Association dining services liason, said.
Terry mentioned the idea to Dining Services and Water Watch, the only environmental group on campus.
The leftovers, which included whole apples, banana peels and untouched salads, were scraped into bins by students before they turned in their trays.
“I feel as though we’ve saved the workers here a substantial amount of time,” Matthew Civiletti, senior engineering major, said. “So, in that respect, it’s a good thing.”
When asked if he thought that the event will change the students’ views on waste, he replied, “Yes, I think it will. I hope it will, anyway.”
The event was done two years ago to mixed reviews, according to Terry. However, it is done at many other educational institutions.
“The last four I’ve been at have done it and that’s over a 12-year span,” Matt Hower, director of operations for Sodexho, said.
The purpose is “just the awareness of the amount of food that’s wasted,” according to Hower, and also to promote methods of curbing the waste. Portion control is particularly recommended, according to Joanna Brunell, marketing coordinator with Sodexho.
“We’re going to be presenting this hopefully to the Board of Trustees,” Andrew Mathe, sophomore biology major and publicity coordinator for Water Watch, said, “to improve administrative qualities to reflect environmental behaviors and qualities.”
“I would like to look into ways of reusing food waste, such as compost on campus,” Terry said. “However, there are many factors that weigh into that being possible, with strong student interest needed and a place that can handle the large amount of food waste generated every day.”