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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Letter to the Editor: The Worth of a Tray

<r Editor,

Between the shelves empty of trays, the signs, emails, NNB announcements, and tabling in the LDC, anyone who ate a meal at the LDC on Tuesday probably figured out that our Trayless Tuesdays pilot program began this week. Having been tabling myself, reading through all the comment cards and thinking about the other feedback we’ve gotten throughout this process, I want to thank everyone for participating and starting this program off successfully.

We know that going trayless is a significant change in the daily routines of many, and is often inconvenient. We recognize that many of you do eat a tray’s worth of food, that a tray makes it easier to get the variety of foods and drinks that many of you like, and that you worry about plates being dropped more without trays. We appreciate your suggestions that dining halls should go plateless, charge for food on a per-item basis, or serve “food that people like more.” We were inspired by the people who told us that they had been waiting and hoping for Carleton to go trayless, that trayless wasn’t as much of an inconvenience as they’d expected, and that they could see how trayless really could reduce food waste significantly.

However, I wanted to reiterate why we think trayless is a good idea. Going trayless engages students directly in reducing food waste, and help them think more carefully about how much food they are taking – and one that does not require massive institutional change on Bon Appetit’s end. Going plateless doesn’t solve the problem of people getting more food than they can eat, and serving food a la carte would be expensive and difficult for Bon Appetit, and a much larger adjustment for students. 

It’s easy to say, “I’m not the one wasting the food,” or “Well, they should have served something that I liked better,” but this shifts the responsibility away from us when, ultimately, we are the ones that control how much we eat and waste. Yes, going trayless is a change, and change is always going to be difficult at first, but as STAs and Carleton students, Michelle and I are asking you to support our efforts and take personal responsibility to make Carleton as a whole a more responsible and sustainable community.

Please email us (laia or hesterbm) if you have any other comments, questions, or feedback about Trayless Tuesdays and what we’re doing. Trayless is a small sacrifice with a big impact, and we’re excited and optimistic that Carleton is a place where students recognize and support this!


Alex Lai and Michelle Hesterberg

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