Cutting Back on Food Waste at MSU

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

It's estimated everyone eating at MSU's newly renovated Brody Square Cafeteria is throwing out a third a pound of food.

That's why the school has implemented a waste reduction program, teaching students to eat with their stomachs, not their eyes.

Students say it's because there are so many options that look so good. There's also an all-you-can-eat format.

But with nine different stations serving everything from salads to carved meats to pastries, who can blame them?

All those options are making students think they're hungrier than they are, resulting in lots and lots of waste. Sustainability Manager Carla Iansiti says that's costly for the university and the environment.

"They like to try and taste everything. We want them to, but maybe not go to more than one station at a time, or ask for smaller portions," she suggested.

To turn this all around, they're asking students to scrape their plates of any uneaten food into a bin.

Then they weigh and chart the results for everyone to see.

"I just dumped a bowl of soup," said student Laura Lafond. "I don't know, I never really thought about it until now that i'm looking at all the signs and data. It's crazy. It let me realize how much I was taking."

Collectively they're dumping nearly 1,500 pounds of food a day. But students are on board to reverse that trend. There's even a special club open to those who eat everything on their plates...the clean

It's only day three of this program, so the idea is, the more students that walk by and see those charts, the less food that will go to waste. And the clean plate club's membership will grow.

MSU plans to expand the program to its other cafeterias in the next few weeks.


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