Session Notes, Reduced

In addition to witnessing my first buffet outage, I actually learned a thing or two at yesterday’s AASHE conference.

In a session called “Food, Dining and Compost,” I heard folks from the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington talk about their composting programs. First, good on them for composting.

But my main thought was why their sustainability efforts don’t include reducing waste, too. Another panelist, Andrew Shakman of LeanPath, raised the topic, but he was the only one to mention it.

The 3 R's (x 3). Photo by Leo Reynolds (via Creative Commons)LeanPath is in the business of measuring and analyzing food waste to assist reduction (via their ValuWaste system), so it makes sense that Shakman raised the topic. What shocked me is that nobody else did.

Isn’t it: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Well, the schools are only doing the last part. (The schools have moved toward compostable plates, cups and cutlery because theft–via students’ sticky fingers–made reusable items too costly.)

I asked if either of the schools had made efforts to reduce food waste, and one of the schools said that they do a food waste weighing once a semester. Still, for institutions that clearly care and are trying to be sustainable and trim their carbon footprint, why not make more of an effort to cut food waste?

I have my theory, but I’m curious to hear yours. From your perspective, are folks trying to reduce food waste? Why or why not?

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