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Contest reduces food waste

Adam Llorens | Wednesday, April 11, 2012

During mealtimes, students head to North and South Dining Halls to chat with friends and eat without realizing how much food is wasted. Waste-Free Wednesdays is trying to change that.

Senior Elizabeth Davis, founder and chair of Waste-Free Wednesdays, said Notre Dame students wasted 1.25 tons of food and liquids every day in the two dining halls in 2011.

Through a partnership between the Office of Sustainability, Food Services and GreeND, Waste-Free Wednesdays works to create awareness of how each student can make a difference in the amount of food thrown away on a daily basis.

“Before Waste-Free Wednesdays began in November 2011, we were wasting 6.27 ounces per person per meal,” Davis said. “That number has gradually declined. After the last Waste-Free Wednesdays event, we measured food waste and found it to be 4.25 ounces per person per meal.”

The approximate two-ounce reduction in food waste benefits both the environment and the South Bend community.

“Notre Dame students have saved more than 90 tons of food over the course of a year, and 150 tons since the inception of Waste-Free Wednesdays,” Davis said. “In addition, students at the Waste-Free Wednesdays events have contributed over 900 dollars to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, which provided 6,300 meals.”

Students will have the opportunity to become more conscious of their wasteful habits again this month.

“Every Wednesday for the month of April from 6 to 7 p.m. in both North and South Dining Halls, students will have a chance to win 100 flex points by not wasting food and liquids,” Davis said. “Whenever a student has zero waste left on their tray, they receive a card that will be entered in a raffle to win 100 flex points.”

Donations to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana will be accepted throughout the month as well.

“With this connection to the greater community, students can donate a dollar, or more, at the Waste-Free Wednesdays booth in front of the dining halls,” Davis said. “Because of the Food Bank’s purchasing power, every dollar that is donated equates to seven meals for local food insecure residents.”

Contact Adam Llorens at allorens@nd.edu