The Weight of Waste

These are exciting times, as colleges from Alaska to Florida are making efforts to reduce their food waste.

As part of Operation Dine and Dish, environmental science students at the University of Alaska Anchorage, are displaying cafeteria food waste in a clearn bin. The student-run study will report its findings to the school sustainability council, which will make recommendations on how to cut waste. photo by zen via Creative Commons

In the meantime, the hope is that the display will encourage UAA students to be more careful with their food:

“We’re hoping that they will see their food waste does impact the environment, and hopefully when they go to buy things they’ll think, ‘Do I really need this food?’ and if they do, ‘Do I need this much of it?'” said Tameka Eldridge, who is conducting the study.

The writeup includes this hammer blow:

“When I was in Mexico I didn’t even have a glass of milk at times and over here you have everything and you guys don’t understand what you’re wasting over here,” UAA Cuddy Center supervisor Vicky Jimenez said.

Folks at Florida’s Ave Maria University are taking things one or two steps further. Last week, the school’s student government, administration and caterers weighed and displayed their cafeteria food waste.

They will compare that total to the weight of next week’s cafeteria waste. In a truly catholic move, they’ll donate the difference to a local shelter, with a guaranteed 1,000 pound donation.

Echoing Jimenez, Ave Maria freshman Steffan Kellan talked about the experiment’s impact:

“You hear all the time not to waste food because there are starving children, but when you see this visible display it becomes a lot more real.”

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