Cafeteria Trays – A Conservation Program

From the Wall Street Journal, an idea that, in a slightly altered version, seems to be gaining traction on my campus. Here, the push is on to save water; the advice is that the non-use of a tray reduces water consumption by 30%. Perhaps there is also the unintended, but welcomed, opportunity for weight reduction on the part of your scribe…..

Do cafeteria patrons waste food because of the ubiquitous food tray?That is the conclusion of some university administrators, who have found that removing trays from dining halls cuts down on the amount of food and drink that gets thrown in the trash. The idea is that without the convenience and space that trays afford, students don’t get overly ambitious when it comes to portions.Tests seem to back this up, Elia Powers reports in online publication Inside Higher Ed. At Alfred University in upstate New York, food and beverage waste dropped between 30% and 50% on two days when trays were removed.At Colby College in Maine, roughly one-third less waste is generated on days when trays aren’t available. The drop is so predictable that dining officials know to purchase less food for those days.Students generally haven’t enjoyed going without trays, dining-hall administrators say. Some come up with enterprising alternatives. Varun Avasthi, director of dining services at Colby, has heard of students piling food onto chair seats during trayless days. He says members of Colby’s woodsmen team (who, according to its Web site, mixes traditional woodsmen skills like “standing-block chop” with “newer events such as axe throw”) have crafted their own wooden trays. – Robin Moroney
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