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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Trayless Tuesdays coming to LDC

<u walk into the LDC next Tuesday, be prepared to make a few changes in your eating habits. The food will be the same, but the trays will be gone. With the leadership of the Sustainability Assistants (STAs) and the support of more than 570 Carleton students, the CSA passed a resolution to eliminate trays from the East Dining Hall (LDC) on Tuesdays.

“Trayless Tuesdays are a trial run,” explained STA Michelle Hesterberg ’11. “Assuming things go well, they will be part of the gradual transition of eliminating all trays in the food service areas of the dining hall.” If Trayless Tuesdays are in fact a success, “we hope to make the LDC completely trayless at the beginning of winter term,” said Alex Lai ‘13 and STA. The LDC will, however, continue to make trays available to students with disabilities if such a plan goes through.

Last spring, a study done by Food for Thought at Carleton showed Carleton dining halls produce about 2,700 pounds of food waste per day. As Carleton has become more sustainable, the excessive food waste became a hot topic. The trayless option was brought up because as Lai explained, “removing trays will make people think more about how much food they are getting instead of just piling food on their trays.”
The idea was brought up before the Environmental Action Council (EAC), the Dining Board and the CSA, but it was decided that no action would be taken until it was clear that this was an initiative that had the campus’ support. “While the EAC and the Dining Board were pretty supportive of it, they wanted it to come from the students,” said Hesterberg.

In order to garner student support, Hesterberg, Lai and other students worked on publicity including table tents in the dining halls and chalking about the repercussions of food waste. As the initiative progressed, it was decided to advocate for only the LDC to become trayless because the Burton conveyor belts cannot handle just plates. “By far, the majority of students I talk to about it are very supportive,” said Hesterberg. In fact, this year, a petition was started for the LDC to go trayless; as of Monday it had 574 student signatures.

Carleton joins a national trend of colleges going trayless in an effort to dramatically decrease food waste. Half of Bon Appétit’s clients have gone trayless, and posters around campus include a list of seven other Minnesota schools including Macalester College and the University of Minnesota that have gone trayless or partially trayless. Food waste was reduced by 16% at UC Berkeley and 47% at American University by going trayless. According to an Aramark Higher Education study, schools average a 30% reduction in food waste after going trayless.

In light of former President Oden’s signing of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Carleton College needs to become carbon neutral by 2050. Although there are no statistics for how much carbon Carleton’s food production creates, worldwide food production is responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we are going to go carbon neutral, we are going to have to make some sacrifices to get there. This is a little thing to give up, if we can have this serious of an effect,” concluded Hesterberg.

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