Friday, February 6, 2009

Trayless Wastes Way Less

I was first introduced to the idea of trayless dining in the dining commons at 3E-COE's first meeting and it seemed like a great way to save water. Since then I learned that several colleges went trayless, including Susquehanna University which Steve and I visited last semester. Steve did some research and found that ARAMARK, the company that supplies the food to Susquehanna University's dining commons, made a report that supports their decision to go trayless (download the .pdf report). It highlights the many benefits of a tray-free campus:

Trayless dining reduces an institution’s environmental footprint.
It decreases waste, conserves natural resources (namely, energy
and water) and reduces the introduction of polluting detergents,
rinses and drying agents into the water table. Economically, it
reduces the cost of these same inputs (energy, water, cleaning
agents), as well as the fees associated with waste removal. Socially, trayless dining can provide education and awareness about
environmental issues, while also potentially reinforcing
a healthy lifestyle. Collectively, it is a true Triple Bottom Line
initiative, further supporting campus sustainability.

The ARAMARK study of 186,000 meals was completed at 25 colleges and universities. The study found that trayless dining reduced 25 percent to 30 percent of food waste per person. Therefore the University of Maine saved an estimated $57,000 annually by going trayless and the Grand Valley State University saved approximately $79,000. What does this mean for Penn State? Grand Valley State University has about half the population as Penn State (and the University of Maine has only a quarter) so it seems possible that by going trayless Penn State could possibly save over a hundred thousand dollars per year.

If sustainability is not a central reason for our university and others across the nation to make the switch to trayless dining, maybe the other type of green is.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Jared! (btw, I figured out how to post from home...reduced security settings. oh well..)