Sitting, waiting, wasting
Dining Services must reduce what it produces
Dining Services works hard to reduce the amount of waste they produce each year. Unfortunately, the gap in the amount of waste produced compared to the effort to reduce waste is too large to overcome without major change.
There are two contributing factors to waste production on campus: Styrofoam use and food waste.
Dining Services attempts to discourage the use of these containers by charging for them.
“The cost to produce a Styrofoam container is fourteen cents. Dining services charges fifteen cents,” said Val Brown, Director of Dining Services. “We could do some signage, about how long it takes to biodegrade. We haven’t done that, but we do charge to help discourage, or offset, the cost of it.”
More needs to be done to discourage Styrofoam use. Charging more than what it costs to produce is just a way to make money, not to reduce the use or the waste.
If Styrofoam use is to continue on campus, with no steps to discourage its use, the University needs to take action to recycle this Styrofoam. Currently, UVU’s Styrofoam recycle plans are dependent on BYU.
“BYU has, whether they have installed it or not, a recycle area for anything that is Styrofoam,” said Val. “The plan was for us to box up our Styrofoam and take it up to BYU to have it recycled.”
BYU has made no contact regarding the future of this plan. Dining Services is at an impasse with Styrofoam recycling. They are waiting for a call that won’t ever come. It is time for the university’s Dining Services to stop waiting and take action.
The other area of waste that Dining Services deals with is food waste.
“The most waste that we have is from the kitchen, where we might overproduce, were we have leftovers,” said Brown. “We have 25 to 150 pounds a day of solid food waste that goes into the garbage can and gets dumped. ”
The food that gets dumped goes to the landfill. The only acceptable part of wasting this much food is that the food is biodegradable. With so many other options available to handle the waste of food, the University needs to take action.
This food that is going to be thrown out could be recycled into compost and provided to farmers in the area to help fertilize their grounds. That would require a client to take the food and process the food.
Dining Services do have certain portions of their operations recycled. Used grease is recycled for items such as soap. Before they throw the food out, they do attempt to reuse the food in other meals.
With 25 to 150 pounds of food thrown out, trying to reuse the food is not enough. There are options; the last place that the food should be placed is in a landfill.
There is no fate but what we make. Dining Services’ fate could potentially rest on the amount of waste that they produce. Action needs to be taken by Dining Services and the amount of waste that is produced needs to be reduced if we are to be an Earth-conscious university.