University of Massachusetts students generate five to six ounces of food waste per dining commons visit, according to a report from the Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Last spring, that amounted to more than 300 tons at the school’s four dining commons. To reduce that, UMass plans to eliminate trays from the all-you-care-to-eat venues next fall, joining dozens of other universities that have made the same decision.
Other waste reduction tactics, such as posting signs illustrating the amount of waste and asking students to be more conscious of not taking more food than they plan to eat has not worked at curbing the problem. The dining department has also approached the problem through portion control, reducing portions through its Small Plate, Big Flavor Program in order to reduce the amount of food taken per visit to a station, and it makes more food closer to service time to control overproduction while also increasing freshness. The dining commons also minimize the environmental impact of food waste by sending it to local farms to be composted.