Creative Solutions to Campus Food Waste

Often when we think about the food system we think about the process of getting food from farm to plate – the planning, planting, production, harvesting, processing, distribution, marketing and preparation of food. But what happens to the food that gets wasted along the way and the food that gets left on our plates?
Unfortunately, close to half of all food produced worldwide is wasted — discarded in processing, transport, supermarkets and kitchens. On campuses, this waste is often transported off of campus which results in transportation greenhouse gases in addition to the methane emissions produced by landfills. Food waste is discouraging and costly for campuses – which is motivating campus dining halls to find new and innovative ways of reducing waste.

Mt. Allison's Food Waste Campaign

Mt. Allison’s Food Waste Campaign

During their East Coast Campus tour, the Campus Food Systems Project National Coordinators Caitlin and Sarah saw how campuses were taking creative and diverse approaches to reduce waste.

  •  Memorial University conducted an audit to determine how much waste was being generated and ways to reduce waste produced.
  • St. FX found that going trayless is a great way to reduce the amount of food wasted and is saving 80 000 gallons of water used in the cafeterias annually.
  • Dalhousie installed scraping stations which help build awarness of food waste and encourage students to only take the amount of food they plan to eat. Scraping stations are a part of the Green Report Card where Dalhousie received an “A” grade for food and recycling. Mt. Allison found scraping stations have decreased food waste by 44% over the past five years.
  • Campuses are also finding creative ways to reduce and reuse campus food waste. Mt. Allison puts the organic food separated at its scraping stations through a food pulper to remove 88-90% of its waste. This is then sent to the twin Big Hanna composters which will be used on campus grounds.

These are just a few of the many creative solutions campuses are finding to build awareness about and actively reduce and reuse food waste. We’d love to hear other ideas and initiatives – feel free to send questions, comments and ideas to us national@studentfood.ca

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