Waste Weigh Friday

I’ve spent this past week at Bucknell University. I gave a campus talk, guest lectured in a variety of classes and met with professors and students. It has been an engaging, fun few days.

But the main participatory activity of the visit takes place today at lunch, when we’ll hold a waste audit in the main cafeteria. The event will be a collaboration of an involved dean, several passionate students and professors from the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy, the Bucknell Environmental Center and Parkhurst Dining Services.

We’ve secured this awesome, antiquey scale and will place it right in front of the plate return. Student will scrape their food waste into the bin atop the scale. We’ll be able to see the weight of waste throughout the meal and will publish the total later in the school paper (and here).

The purpose of the exercise is twofold:

1. To raise awareness on how much food students waste in their all-you-can-eat cafeteria, despite being trayless.

2. To get a baseline measure on that waste, which the campus will compare to a later waste audit.

Students will leave with a heightened awareness on food waste and this neat ‘Stop Food Waste’ sticker.

In the weeks to follow, the Mindful Consumption class will follow up this exercise by designing and displaying awareness posters aimed at reducing waste. And in the hours to follow, I hope to post pictures from event.

Update: Today’s waste weigh came off without a hitch, as you can see from the photos. The grand total was 93 lbs of food waste in a two-hour span. There were about 1,000 students who ate during that time. I’m confident it was a major success from an awareness-raising perspective.

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