Ever wonder what happens to that half eaten sandwich or extra slice of pizza on the revolving dish return in Huden Dining Hall? Well here’s your answer … NOTHING. It gets thrown away with the rest of the day’s trash.
“It’s disheartening when you see a whole sandwich thrown away, not even a bite taken out of it,” Jeff Kurto said.
Couldn’t there be a better use for this extra unused food?
On Nov. 21, Luke Perry orchestrated a waste audit day to get exact facts and figures for the amount of food wasted in Huden on a daily basis.
The total waste for this day was 785 pounds and 128 gallons for 2,153 people.
This was the day that Huden served its yearly Thanksgiving feast. The day was agreed upon because it would give the most accurate numbers of waste and students coming into Huden.
The volunteers split the numbers into two groups; pre-consumer and post-consumer. Pre-consumer is the unavoidable waste while cleaning and preparing the food. Post-consumer is the amount on the plate when a person is finished eating.
Pre-consumer total weight was 195 pounds and the volume was 32 gallons. Post-consumer numbers reached 590 pounds in weight and 96 gallons in volume.
Kurto said waste costs about 30 cents a pound and if we are generating 200 pounds to 300 pounds a day the wasted food could amount to more than $100. And based on the audit, that figure could be substantially higher.
Kurto thinks there are many ways to minimize the amount of waste like ordering half a sandwich, taking smaller portions or just using fewer napkins.
“It is all you care to eat, it’s not my place to lecture them, but we can certainly suggest taking smaller portions,” Kurto said.
Kurto and Perry both said this process allows them to move forward in finding a company to compost.
“With this progress, we are able to move forward to find a transporting agency to start composting our waste and transforming it into reusable material,” Perry said. “This is a crucial step toward reducing our carbon footprint here on campus.”
Perry said he was pleased with the turn-out of volunteers and statements made by passing students.
“The waste audit went very well and student participation was very high,” Perry said. “Students seemed eager to toss their waste in a way that would help the environment and students even said that they were happy that Castleton was looking toward energy efficient means.”