Research says the practice
significantly reduces waste
and students support it.
Two research studies from Aramark Higher Education conclude that removing trays from college dining halls reduces food waste significantly, and that customers are ready to accept it. The company says that 50 to 60 percent of its 500 college clients will go trayless in the upcoming school year.
One study measured food waste from more than 186,000 meals served at over 25 higher education institutions during the academic year. It found that food waste quantity was reduced by 1.2 to 1.8 ounces per person per meal when trays were removed from dining facilities. This represents a 25 to 30 percent reduction in food waste per person.
The other study surveyed over 92,000 students, faculty and staff at 300 institutions about their attitudes. Seventy-nine percent said they would support trayless dining.
“This research presents a sound case for why now is the time for higher education administrators to implement trayless dining at their institutions,” says Chris Stemen, senior director of sustainability and environmental stewardship.
“Trayless dining reduces an institution's environmental footprint by decreasing waste and conserving natural resources. Socially, it encourages all students to participate in a ‘green’ initiative that has personal and community impact. Economically, going trayless reduces the cost of energy, water, cleaning agents and waste removal.”