Waste not, want not

Many students were taken aback by the sight of their professors and peers scraping food into barrels on Tuesday night.  This was the first of a two-part weigh-in to see how much food we’re wasting at Lowry.

Professor Mariola explains the process

Professor Mariola explains the process

Around the country, tons of food are wasted on college campuses (not to mention in restaurants and private homes) as students decide to sample several things before deciding what they like, or overestimate how hungry they are.  We waste a lot less food than we did several years ago, before the dining halls went trayless.   But there’s room for improvement.

Why should we care? This is one of those cases where environmental sustainability and economy go hand in hand.  Sure, the college will save money if they don’t have to pay for (and prepare) food that goes straight into the dumpster. That saved money could be spent on student services, or lower tuition increases.

But food is also an enviromental resource. It takes land, water, and energy to grow the food, transport it, prepare it, and serve it. When the food is not eaten it takes up space in a landfill (though we compost some of it).  The College’s environmental footprint would be reduced if we didn’t get more food than we needed or wanted.

Two hardy workers at the food-scraping station!

Two hardy workers at the food-scraping station!

Last Tuesday we scraped 185 pounds of edible food off of plates, or about 2 ounces per person. That’s not too bad. But we can do better. When you eat at Lowry, think about taking 2 ounces less food on your plate. If you want more, you can go back and get it later! If everyone chooses their food more carefully, together it can make a big difference.

Next month we’ll do another weigh-in to see what changes have been made!

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