A Tray for Sustainability

30 Apr 2009

The latest trend in sustainability is finding its way into college canteens all across the US. In an effort to cut costs in the face of raising food prices and uncertain economic times, many canteens have decided to sideline the canteen tray.

Canteens axed the tray in hopes that the savings in water would lower costs. Many university ended up using tens of thousands of liters less a year than before. This drives down their cost as well as conserving one of our most important resources.

Supporters of the “trayless” canteen point to a reduction in food waste. Without the trays, students find themselves limited to what food they can carry and this limits them to eating only the food they really want. Food waste is a major problem in university canteens as the canteens themselves are based on all you can eat buffets, giving students little economic reason not to waste.

Students have responded well to the changes in their canteens. Some have noticed that they are eating less because now they are forced to consciously make a decision to get up and get more food, when before they could have brought all the food back on a tray.

Some say that this might help to cure to the famous fresh fifteen, which is the fifteen pounds gained by some freshmen during their first semester at school. Time will tell if this is true, but the “trayless” canteen is a step towards sustainability.

The New York Times

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