September 5, 2008
Samford To Eliminate Caf Trays Sept. 15
Samford’s traditional dining facility-- a.k.a, “the Caf”-- will go trayless starting September 15.
For decades, Samford students commandeered cafeteria trays on the rare occasion the campus had enough snow for sledding. We now know that was probably the most environmentally responsible use for the trays. Recent studies have revealed that those seemingly harmless plastic helpmates, when used as intended, exact an enormous price in energy, water and wasted food.
In July the ARAMARK company, which provides dining services to many of the hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities going trayless, published a white paper titled The Business and Cultural Acceptance Case for Trayless Dining, based on two studies.
One of the ARAMARK studies documented food waste at 25 colleges and universities and found that institutions reduced waste by 20-30 percent when they eliminated dining hall trays.
A second study considered the cultural implications of eliminating trays. Out of almost 100,000 students and employees of 300 universities, ARAMARK determined that 79 percent would accept the change.
Putting national findings in perspective, Mike McCormack, Director of Samford’s Business Services office, said Samford must wash 3,200 trays on a normal day. In addition to the potential energy and water savings of eliminating that washing, he said, “it is estimated there might be a savings of about $40,000 in food waste [annually].”
Samford’s elimination of trays starting Sept. 15 is part of its ongoing Go Green initiative. The comprehensive, university-wide initiative, launched in 2007, helps bring Samford’s practices in line with other U.S. universities and colleges and reflects its commitment to good stewardship of all its resources.