Art of Living News Ohio University

Students waste more food during no-tray meal

By Gabriel Weinstein
CG News Staff

While results from the Oct. 5-8 Nelson Dining Hall food audits showed that student waste habits have slightly improved, the results from the “no-tray” meal at Nelson Dining Hall last night did not reflect this trend.

The 1,077 diners at Nelson generated an average of 6.02 ounces of waste per person during the tray-less meal. The highest amount of waste produced during the Oct. 5-8 Nelson audits was 5.54 ounces per person.

On “no tray” day during the winter of 2008 Jefferson Dining Hall audits showed that students generated 4.52 ounces per person, the lowest figure of the audit.

Staff of the Office of Sustainability hoped that no trays would cause students to reevaluate their food consumption habits.

“The point of ‘no-tray’ day is to get students to pause and think: ‘Hey maybe I’m not going to eat all that food and waste it’,” said Kim Criner, an Office of Sustainability employee.

Criner said no trays would cause some students to reevaluate their waste habits while others would simply continue their current routines.

Sophomore Chris Schade’s said the absence of trays made it more difficult to carry his food, but it did not affect the amount of food he ate.

Unlike Schade, sophomore Chelsea Barranco said not having a tray would definitely affect the amount of food she took without trays and in the future with trays.

“With a tray you pack it all in until it’s filled and sometimes [you] don’t eat it all,” Barranco said. “But after not having a tray I’ll be able to see what I can really eat, and once trays come back I’ll probably adjust my habits.”

The Office of Sustainability and Dining Services collaborated for “No Tray” night in their search for solutions to reduce food waste.

“Dining Services’ support is critical when we do things like this,” Criner said.
Frank Rzesutock, a manager in Nelson Dining Hall, said Dining Services has been eager to have a no-tray meal for a few weeks and wants to reduce the amount of food waste produced.

“Dining services is in favor [of generating] less waste,” Rzesutock said, adding that trays are likely to stay because even though students usually generate less waste without them — though this was not the case at Nelson last night.

“We’re still in the experimental stages with the no-tray things,” he said.

The Nelson “No-Tray” night does not mark the end of the Office of Sustainability’s and Dining Services food waste research.

Criner said the Office of Sustainability and Dining Services is planning more food audits to get a better measurement of food waste and learn how further improve waste strategies. Criner said the next food audit will be later in the school year.

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