The Earth to DeSales Environmental Club recently held their annual “Weigh the Waste” event in concert with the Earth Week at DeSales environmental awareness initiative.
“Weigh the Waste” is a widely participated national campaign aimed at bringing to light the amount of food regularly thrown away per meal. During the event, members of the club collected unfinished food left on trays taken to be thrown out and weighed and calculated the average waste-per-person.
This year, 294 students participated during the 80 minute period during dinner hours, producing 91.5 lbs. of waste (roughly .31 lbs. per person).
The group also measured the amount of plastic, paper, and Styrofoam waste generated, which totaled another 17.5 lbs.
“A lot of students were surprised and a little grossed-out by the 92 lbs. of food that we collected,” Stefanie Schloo, president of Earth to DeSales said. “The visual aspect of the program--the buckets of food and trash--inspires a bit of self-reflection.”
Though this year’s event spanned 10 minutes less than 2014’s, total food wasted increased by 7.5 lbs. To combat high waste numbers, the club is working with DeSales’ food service, who just added a reusable plastic cup alternative for students.
“We were not surprised by the amount of takeout containers that the students use, but we were [surprised] that the students were,” Sodexo retail manager, Samuel Bannon said. “We limit the amount available by only keeping them out in limited locations to help control their use, but they are available for the students and staff that will be leaving the [University Center].”
In addition to “Weigh the Waste,” Earth to DeSales also plans to start a composting program to help reduce landfill food levels.
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