About 4 percent of food is wasted in the United States. The largest source of food waste comes from food service, with 19 percent of food being thrown out from restaurants, buffets, and cafeterias. On average, people leave 15 percent of their food on their plate uneaten. This waste adds up and ends up in landfills where it does not decompose properly due to the lack of oxygen present. The inability to decompose in this anaerobic environment causes the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. In fact, 90 percent of methane released from landfills is from food scraps, which makes up 14 percent of the total methane produced by the U
nited States!

On Wednesday, February 22, about 32 pounds of food were thrown away at the Great Room, which, frighteningly enough, is an improvement; it is not uncommon for 45-50 pounds of food to be thrown out. Based on this, it is very likely that between 100-130 pounds of food is thrown out during the lunch period every day. Weigh the Waste is a weekly event that weighs the amount of food students and staff throw away period during lunch in the Great Room. The purpose is to provide a physical representation of how much food we waste in an hour and, hopefully, to get people to change their eating habits to produce less waste at meals.

We know that we produce too much food waste, but how do we reduce the amount of food that is thrown away? I have compiled some ideas about how to reduce our own food waste at the Great Room, but of course, there are additional steps we can take.

  • Take smaller portions. In addition to being a healthier way of eating, smaller portions can help reduce the amount of food you throw away. Usually, the amount of food we put on our plate is larger than the recommended portion size, and reducing the amount of food on our plates will ultimately reduce how much food we end up throwing out.  
  • Try a tiny bit: Let’s say that there is an interesting dish offered at the Great Room and you are interested in trying it. Of course, there is a chance you will love it. There is also a chance that you will hate it and regret your decision of piling your entire plate with that awful food. If you want to try something, go for it! Just maybe take a little bit to start.
  • Be mindful of time: You have five minutes to scarf down food and get to that class in Goodpaster. Yes, you should probably eat something, but maybe you shouldn’t fill your entire plate with food. Be mindful of how much time you have to eat, and plan accordingly. Maybe have a small plate of food, and fill a cup with an easy-to-travel-with snack, like French fries or carrot sticks. But probably French fries.

Basically, just put less food on your plate. If you are still hungry after finishing one plate of food, there is a whole buffet of food waiting to be eaten.

-Alisa Fried

Infographic Courtesy of www.saveonenergy.com/food-power-per-hour
Infographic Courtesy of www.saveonenergy.com/food-power-per-hour
Infographic Courtesy of www.saveonenergy.com/food-power-per-hour
Infographic Courtesy of www.saveonenergy.com/food-power-per-hour
Infographic Courtesy of www.saveonenergy.com/food-power-per-hour

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