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Natural Awakenings

Green Lunchrooms: University Cafeterias Show How to Cut Waste

Dozens of universities are doing away with lunch trays as a keystone in cutting cafeteria waste. A recent survey of 25 schools by Aramark, a food-service provider for some 600 institutions of higher education, found that trayless dining reduced food waste by an average of 25 to 30 percent per person. Seventy-five percent of the 92,000 students surveyed at 300 colleges said they were in favor of the change. Accompanying changes typically include the recycling and composting of food waste and using eco-friendly serviceware.

A separate study by the University of Illinois, which serves 1,300 students a day, noticed a 40 percent reduction in food waste. Kristen Ruby, an assistant director, explains that because students couldn’t carry as much, they didn’t take more than they could eat. “Not having trays [also] saves 516 gallons of water a day,” says Ruby, who counts the consequent dishwashing detergent saved in an academic year at 473 pounds less.

The same principles apply to food operations in businesses, convention centers, sports arenas, entertainment venues, government agencies, correctional institutions and assisted living facilities.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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