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Make a difference: Go trayless

| Wednesday, October 28, 2015

This Thursday, the Junior Class Council and GreeND will be partnering to bring the first Tray Inconvenient Day to Notre Dame’s dining halls as a part of Make a Difference Week. Universities across the country are shelving the trays in order to cut food waste, conserve water and save money.

Going trayless may be somewhat inconvenient, but it makes a difference immediately. The food we save will be donated to the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Cost savings can be reallocated to locally sourced produce, such as the berries we all love so much.

The trayless trial will take place the entirety of Thursday (all three meals) at both North and South Dining Halls. Trays will be made available for students who personally require a tray in the Rec Room at North and at the opposite card swipe entrance in South Dining Hall.

Why does going trayless reduce waste? Using trays allows students to take more food than they can realistically eat. This creates a tendency for us to generate significant amounts of food waste. Did you know we waste 1.2 tons of food daily?

Why should we care about food waste? Food production takes 20 percent of our land, 4 percent of our energy and 25 percent of our water. After the plates are cleared, the food in the trash must be hauled to a landfill, costing more land and energy, where it ultimately breaks down into methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.

By going trayless, Notre Dame could save 768 pounds of food and 70 gallons of water every single day, as well as reduce food costs by approximately 5 percent (based on a study by the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, which projects that eliminating trays from university dining facilities reduces food waste by 32 percent and water usage by 27 percent, and by Food Services estimates).

We thank the Notre Dame community for their willingness to join in our effort to have a positive impact on the world.

Eva Niklinska
Junior Class Council

Tessa Clarizio

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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