You sure you’re done?

Food waste at colleges (or any all-you-can eat cafeteria) can reach upwards of one pound per person per meal. That’s why I’m always excited to hear about campus efforts to slow the taking-too-much phenomenon.

Rutgers University dining services posted a sign asking students to take only what they’ll eat. But JP Kemmick, a graduating senior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., has done them one better:

He and other students created a program called “Are you Going to Eat That?” in which he and others in the group stood at the trash cans in the cafeteria, eating food off diners’ plates to point out how much they wasted.

While participating students are taking a bit of a health risk, that kind of in-your-face awareness will make students’ recognize their food waste. The same tactic could be used more safely to collect wasted food for to compost or feed animals.

Either way, a little guilt can be a powerful tool. And I love a group that targets food waste while their name reminds me of my practical, omnivorous grandpa.

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 28, 2007 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Hey Johnathan,

    I thought you might be interested to hear about Project Compost at UC Davis. All of the compostable food waste from the dining halls and student union coffee house is collected and composted. The compost is then used on the student farm and in the research fields. While this doesn’t complete take care of all the waste it does take care of a big chunk of it. I worked in the coffee house kitchen my senior year and we composted everything we could that didn’t end up in the food. It is as simple as having a compost only bucket that everything just automatically got sorted into if it wasn’t trash.

    Here is the website:

    I just found your blog and I think it is great. I have to admit my home habits are not as good as I would like and I am working on it everyday. Now I have even more motivation!

One Trackback

  1. [...] The day old sushi option also reminds me of an even more questionable way of dealing with excess. A group of students at Pacific Lutheran University take their name from their question to departing cafeteria diners: Are You Gonna Eat That? The students eat the diners’ unwanted leftovers to reduce waste and raise awareness. A noble effort, but if it came down to yesterday’s sushi or today’s lunch leftovers from a stranger, sign me up for the former. [...]