NPU Cafeteria Becomes a Tray-free Zone

Post a Comment » Written on August 22nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (August 22, 2008) – North Park University and ARAMARK, the school’s food service provider, hope to save thousands of dollars, positively affect the environment, and improve students’ health by removing trays from the cafeteria.

An ARAMARK study of 186,000 meals at 25 colleges and universities of different sizes found a 25-30 percent reduction in food waste per person on “tray-less” days. The cost of water used to wash the trays went down between 1.8 cents and 4.4 cents per gallon.

When the company implemented the change at the University of Maine–Farmington, a school similar in size to North Park, they found the following positive results:

  • Food waste reduced by 46 pounds per person each year
  • Overall waste reduced by 65,000 pounds
  • Water consumption reduced by 288,288 gallons
  • Healthier eating habits supported through portion control
  • Awareness about food waste increased
  • Costs reduced an estimated $57,000

“We take a stewardship mentality to everything we do,” says Carl Balsam, North Park’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “As a campus that is informed by Christian values, we must take the lead in becoming good stewards of the earth. In a world of scarcity, if we can save water and energy by not washing the trays, it helps create a mind-set of conservation that can carry over to other areas of life.”

Studies have shown that university students frequently gain weight often referred to as “the freshman 15.” When students don’t use trays, they tend to take less food and eat better.

Trays will continue to be provided for students who because of physical or other medical challenges require the use of a tray.

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