Colleges and universities throughout the United States are consistently throwing out uneaten food.
According to an article on npr.org, the average college student produces about 142 pounds of food waste a year, and college campuses, as a group, throw out an average of 22 million pounds of uneaten food.
Very little food is wasted at Texas Wesleyan, said Michael Clifton, director of dining services for Dora’s Café.
“We are very accurate in predicting how much food to prepare each day,” Clifton said. “We don’t have much food waste at all.”
Clifton said that on average three pounds or less of food get wasted each day. This waste includes burnt food and food that is not salvageable for reuse.
“The past two years have been very accurately contracted from the food service provider, Aramark, who started this goal five years ago,” Clifton said.
Katie Wilson, an Aramark representative, said that the total waste varies day to day and includes items like bones, vegetable peelings and fruit rinds.
“Our goal is to have no pre- and post-consumer waste,” Wilson wrote in an email. “We pride ourselves in food management processes to understand student preferences and produce food in small batches to reduce leftovers and provide the freshest product.”
Aramark weighs their pre-consumer waste daily, which averages from four to 15 pounds daily or 24 to 90 pounds a week, Wilson said.
“Our main goal is to reduce waste everyday while providing safe food products,” Wilson wrote.
When compared to other colleges, Dora’s wastes significantly less food.
The River Front Café at the Trinity River campus of Tarrant County College wastes about 50 pounds per week, according to Dean Combs, director of food services. Twenty-five pounds of this is rotten food and food that isn’t reusable.
“The River Front Café is very good at preventing waste, and if there is anything left, it is incorporated into another recipe,” Combs said. “I plan my meals daily from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday and so on to help prevent waste.”
Neither school donates any of the salvageable food, despite the need for food donations for food banks and shelters.
Daphine Dean, the food manager for the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth, said that the shelter accepts all amounts of food donations.
“I can work with anything,” Dean said.
Lauren Pickett, a psychology major at Wesleyan, said a pound of food adds up.
“I’m a college student and I know what it’s like to not have food in the house, so a pound of food is kind of a lot to me,” Pickett said.
Any of the extra waste can be used as compost, Pickett said.
An article from recylingworksma.com confirmed that many restaurants and other food services typically have large amounts of food scraps.
This article also states that donating food can benefit society significantly by composting food scraps and diverting this material from disposal.
“I know a lot of farmers can use it, and recycling plants can use it. So, nothing really has to go to waste,” Pickett said.
While Combs has not considered donating the food, Clifton said that there has been consideration for donations.
“It’s not enough of anything for us to pass it on to anyone,” Clifton said, “but we are constantly monitoring and discussing the issues of donating.”