Waste Weigh Friday

Last Friday, I helped oversee a cafeteria waste audit at Bucknell. It was my last day at the school and it was a nice culmination to a week of food waste awareness. It felt like a final exam–to gauge the impact of the week’s conversations, the posters in the cafeteria and a previous waste weigh.

Apparently, the message is spreading. The stats:

October waste audit: 1.5 ounce/student.

April waste audit: 1 ounce/student.

By my math, that’s a 33 percent reduction! Bravo, Bucknell!

Not to mention, that’s a low amount of waste per person per meal. Especially in an “all-you-can-eat” setting. Granted, this was during lunch, as both waste weighs were held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Granted, the poundage would most likely be higher during dinner. But still, the improvement was the most encouraging and important aspect.

Friday’s waste weigh was a combined effort of several dedicated student volunteers, interested faculty members and Parkhurst Dining staff. My thanks to all involved, including the students for scraping their plate waste into the bin.

A few notable moments:

  • One guy (an international student, for what it’s worth) saying repeatedly that we should do this more often.
  • Another guy really not wanting to scrape his plate into the bin, saying a few times: “This is nasty!” Yep, and that’s part of the awareness raising.
  • Worst example of waste: A grapefruit peeled a tiny bit, but not eaten at all (see pic).
  • Silliest waste: 3 packets of individually wrapped crackers that had to be throw away because a student took them on their plate. Sometimes health code rules are just silly.

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*The official numbers:

October 2012: 1,017 ppl – 93 lbs – 1.5 oz per student

April 2013: 917 ppl – 55 lbs –  1 oz per student

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