Removing trays from the dining hall is one of Union's innovative steps towards better sustainability. While removing trays may seem ineffective, Union has found numerous benefits to this initiative. By removing trays from the dining hall, Union is able to conserve water and consequently save money during the dishwashing process. Students also reap benefits from this initiative because students are much more aware of how much they are eating and could avoid overeating or the dreaded Freshmen 15.
Let's put this plan into perspective:
With trays, Union's dining service saw three 35-gallon trash cans full of food wasted, but since trays have been removed, Union's dining services have reported that only half of one 35-gallon trash can is full of food. That is saving roughly 87 gallons of food waste!
Grabbing to-go boxes is an simple, seemingly unproblematic solution for meals on the go; however, these Styrofoam boxes contribute a significant portion of our university's waste. Union now provides free to-go container to all student, faculty, and staff. Students can return the to-go containers each time for a free, sanitized container. They can also return their used to-go container and receive a card to receive a new, sanitized container at a later time. If a student does not have a container or card to exchange, they can purchase another reusable container for $4 or choose to dine-in. This Styrofoam-free plan cuts our non-degradable waste down considerably and helps Union save money with the demand for Styrofoam boxes reducing.
Did you know that grease could even be recycled? ARAMARK, our food service provider, has found a customer to buy all on-campus generated fryer grease. The customer then turns our grease into a renewable resource called biofuel. The truck that comes to pick up and recycle our grease actually runs on the biofuel generated from Union's fryer grease. Talk about recycling!