Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weigh the Waste

Hello IC Students!

If you read our last blog, you know that we have kicked off WasteLESS Week here at IC Dining. This is a Sodexo run program to increase awareness about waste, and to make efforts to reduce it. Our dining halls are continually improving our waste reduction, and we are always open to help and suggestions. Fortunately, we do compost all pre and post consumer waste. This means that our food waste is diverted from the landfill, and instead it is broken down into compost that can be used on top of gardens and soil.

In addition, we have recently implemented LeanPath. LeanPath is the food service industry's first fully automated food waste tracking system. The system helps our Sodexo employees analyze exactly where our pre and post consumer waste comes from, so that they can change their production process to eliminate that waste. The way that LeanPath works is that whenever a dining hall employee goes to compost something, they first must weigh it and log it into LeanPath. LeanPath will take the weight of that food, and the employee will input what category of waste that food is. The categories consist of trimmings, over production, expired, etc. Then we are able to see where most of our waste is coming from. If we are overproducing, then we can cut back on how much food we produce. Or if we have a lot of trim waste, we can retrain staff on trimming practices so that they are more efficient.

Lastly, we ask for students help in reducing waste. We encourage all of our students to waste less in the dining hall by pre-plating meals based on portion sizes, providing napkins dispensers that dispense one napkin at a time, eliminating trays, and encouraging students to only take as much as they can eat. For WasteLESS Week, we like to bring more attention to the amount of food wasted in the dining hall through Weigh the Waste events. You may have seen us in the dining hall doing this already. We are located in front of the dish return, and we ask students to dump out any liquid, napkin, or food waste into a 5 gallon bucket that we then weigh once it gets full. This serves as a good visual for students to understand how much food is wasted in the dining hall.

Granted, we understand that there are complications that come with food waste. Rinds and bones are not edible, or sometimes you may really not like something. These things happen and are understandable. However, we ask students to be mindful of how much food they put on their plate, and if they will be able to finish it all. If you are not sure if you like something, try it first. If you don't know how much you will want, take a little and go back for more if you are still hungry. All of these practices can go a long way in terms of saving food. Last night in Campus Center dining hall from 5-7pm, students threw out 127 pounds of food waste. Let's work together to bring this number down.

Keep any eye out for us in the dining hall, and remember to be mindful of what you put on your plate!
Happy WasteLESS Week,

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Monday, October 20, 2014

WasteLess - Eat Meat Free!

WasteLESS Week is this week! From October 21st to October 23rd. WasteLESS Week is a Sodexo run program to encourage employees and customers to waste less in all aspects of their lives. Because we are dining services, we will focus on decreasing waste in the dining hall. However, this week can be a push for people to waste less in all areas!

How does Meatless Monday tie in with wasting less? Well, Meatless Monday created this info graphic that explains how producing meat can be extremely wasteful.

The facts show that in terms of waste, a meat free diet produces a lot less waste than a meat filled diet. Greenhouse gas emissions and water usage are much higher when producing meat. In addition, the manure that animals create has methane gas in it, which is another greenhouse gas that is harmful to our environment. Overall, decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases emissions and water usage could lead to a huge difference for our environmental sustainability. Consuming less meat is one way to decrease the amount of resources we use.

Aside from reducing our consumption of meat and balancing our diet with plant based proteins, there are other ways we can waste less in the dining hall.
  1. Only take what you can eat!
    •  You can always get more food, and by taking only what you can eat you skip the risk of having to throw food out if you are too full to finish what's on your plate. 
    •  MyPlate can help you portion your meals, so that you are getting a balanced and sustaining meal.
  2. Use one plate, and bring it back up with you if you get more. 
  3. Be conscientious of how many napkins you are using.
  4. Compost and recycle anything that you need to throw out!
    • In the dining hall and retail areas, we compost all food waste and recycle all recyclables!
 Next time you are eating on campus, keep these things in mind. Together we can waste a lot less!

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Check out our Meatless Monday Specials:
Take the Meatless Monday Pledge:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meatless Monday Starts Young!

Meatless Monday is our opportunity to be a part of a larger change.

The change that Meatless Monday brings is part of a global movement. What better way to start than young?

Sarasota County schools in Florida fully committed to Meatless Mondays this past Monday, October 6th. This makes Sarasota the first district in Florida to participate in the program.

Schools within this district will offer no meat on Mondays. Instead, they will provide hummus, vegetable subs, pastas, salads, bean dishes, etc. After a trial period, the school will survey student reactions and satisfaction to see if the program should be altered or maintained. All in all, this program will get kids to think about eating healthier, so that they will be at a reduced risk for obesity and other health complications as they grow up.

Creating habits from a young age is crucial. Kids will learn to adopt certain ways of living that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Meatless Monday has been around for a long time, but is increasingly becoming more popular now. Our generation hasn't grown up eating meat free on Mondays, but it's possible that generations to come will.

Here we have the opportunity to adopt this new movement before ahead of the game. We are only college students now. But when we start having children, they are bound to be exposed to these programs as they enter the school system. It's important that we educate ourselves on issues that will affect our future generations so that we can work with them to achieve whats best for our planet as a whole.

Currently, Ithaca Dining Services only highlights meatless options on Monday. However, we still provide some meat choices for those who do not participate in Meatless Monday. As demands on our planet increase, going completely meatless on Monday could be a reality.

What are your thoughts on Meatless Monday in our dining hall? Should we entirely phase out meat every Monday? Or is it necessary that we give students a meat choice?

Here is a chart created by Johns Hopkins Medicine. It shows what other sources of protein you can consume other than meat!
Happy Meatless Monday, 
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Check out our Meatless Monday Specials:
Take the Meatless Monday Pledge: