Mesa State College to Go Trayless, Installs Green Equipment

Mesa State College (CO) has announced plans to go trayless in January 2009. The College estimates that the tray-free initiative will save 41,000 gallons of water each semester. Additionally, Mesa State has installed solar panels on top of the science center and a ground-source heating-exchange system to control temperature at the new business and teacher education building.

U Cincinnati, Maryville, Florida Southern Eliminate Food Trays

The University of Cincinnati (OH), Maryville College (TN), and Florida Southern College have stopped using trays in campus dining halls. UC's initiative was implemented after the pilot program saved 2,030 pounds of food waste in one week and the Maryville initiative originated from a resolution through the Student Government Association. All programs aim to reduce food waste, water consumption, and energy use.

U Illinois Urbana Champaign Pilots Tray-free Program

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has begun a pilot program to eliminate trays in dining halls on campus. Throughout the year, the University plans to compare food waste and energy conservation data from the cafeterias that still use trays to the one tray-free dining hall on campus.

U Alabama Eliminates Trays on Campus

The University of Alabama has eliminated lunch trays from its buffet-style dining halls. The initiative seeks to conserve water and energy and decrease food waste on campus. Since the initiative began, UA has observed a 25 percent decrease in electricity use and in food waste. Trays are still available, however, upon request.

U Connecticut to Go Trayless

The University of Connecticut has announced plans to go trayless this fall. The project, which will be implemented in 7 of 8 dining halls, aims to reduce the amount of wasted food and water, which is used to wash the trays. During a weeklong trial last semester in two dining halls, UConn saved about 760 pounds of food and more than 913 gallons of water just by going tray-less at dinnertime.

2 Virginia Tech Dining Halls Go Trayless

Two of Virginia Tech's dining halls have gone trayless after a successful pilot program. During the pilot phase of the initiative, which took place in one dining hall during Earth Week, dining services saw a 38 percent reduction in food waste.

Lafayette College Dining Services Goes Green

Lafayette College (PA) Dining Services has switched to using biodegradable products; purchasing organic, locally-grown food, and employing a more efficient waste management system. Green friendly dining products available in all dining locations on campus include clear, biodegradable cold beverage cups and take-away containers made from corn starch; plates, cups, and other types of containers made from wheat starch; and napkins generated from recycled paper. Dining Services has also begun using biodegradable hot beverage cups and is currently exploring sources for biodegradable utensils as well. Reusable hot beverage mugs and cold beverage bottles are available for purchase on campus and discounts are offered for using such renewable beverage containers. Also available in all dining locations is organic and fair-trade coffee.

U Maine, Farmington Donates 100% of its Waste Oil for Biofuel

The University of Maine at Farmington Dining Services recently began donating 100 percent of its waste cooking oil to a local biodiesel production company. The initiative is expected to recycle more than 1,600 gallons of waste cooking oil and grease annually.

CSU Fresno Switches to Compostable Dinnerware

California State University, Fresno recently began serving campus food with compostable cups, lids, napkins, small plates, and beverage sleeves. These green products will also be used at all events catered by University Dining Services. Dining Services also plans to switch to compostable utensils and to-go ware in the near future. All items will be composted by the University Agricultural Laboratory.

U Minnesota Video on Campus Composting Efforts

The University of Minnesota Dining Services Green Team has posted a video on their recent effort to teach students how to compost in the dining halls on campus. The initiative produced more than 80 tons of compost during the fall semester. The video also explains how the composted material from the dining halls is mixed with animal waste in a manure facility, and is then returned to the UM fields as fertilizer. The video also tells about a recent initiative to hand out compact florescent light bulbs on campus.

Eckerd College Switches to Reusable To-Go Containers

Eckerd College (FL) recently switched to using the EcoClamshell, a reusable to-go cafeteria container made out of a dishwasher-safe plastic material. Students can sign up for an EcoClamshell in the cafeteria during any meal. The student's account is charged five dollars, covering the student's four years at Eckerd, unless the container is lost or destroyed. The student checks out an EcoClamshell, fills it with food and exits the cafeteria. Upon returning to the cafeteria, the student checks the container back in and places it on the dishwasher conveyor, where it is sanitized and put out for reuse. The initiative is the result of a $32,000 grant from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation.

Culinary Institute of America Eliminates Paper Cups

The Culinary Institute of America (NY) has removed paper cups and lids in all of its student and staff dining facilities. The college had been using between 15,000 and 18,000 disposable cups a week in its student dining facilities alone. The CIA is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to use travel mugs or to-go bottles on campus.

Tulane U Dining Services Goes Trayless

Tulane University (LA) Dining Services recently removed trays from its dining facilities on campus. The initiative is an effort to reduce food waste, to conserve water that would be used to wash the trays, and to conserve energy that would normally be used to prepare more food. Additionally, the campus dining facilities now offer fresh Louisiana produce and seafood, recycled-content paper napkins, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Dalhousie U Implements Trayless Policy

Dalhousie University (NS) recently implemented a policy that eliminates trays from all four of its campus dining halls. The initiative serves to reduce food waste and water and detergent consumption during the cleaning process.

Schools Reduce Waste with Trayless Policies

Inside Higher Ed recently published an article on how colleges and universities are implementing no-tray policies in dining halls in order to reduce waste and save water. In experiments at Alfred University (NY), students found that a no-tray policy would reduce food and beverage waste by 30-50%. Customers with disabilities or those who need extra assistance are permitted to use trays.

U Western Ontario Switches to Biodegradable Food Packaging

As a result of efforts by the University Students' Council, the University of Western Ontario is transitioning from Styrofoam to 100% biodegradable food containers, plates, and garbage bags. The products, which come at no extra cost to students, are made mostly from sugar cane and corn starch and will biodegrade in 60 to 90 days.