Frequently Asked Questions about Trayless1. How is going trayless really going to affect Concordia?
1. Significantly reduced food waste. Studies at Concordia have found that food waste is reduced 40% when Anderson is trayless. During two hours of lunch time when there are trays available enough food is wasted to feed approximately 60 people.
2. Saves energy to heat water and reduces our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels.
3. Fewer detergents, solid waste and grease down the drain also improves our local community’s water supply.
4. Reduces the amount of time the dishwasher is running, reducing water usage.
5. Helps guests in Anderson Commons manage portion sizes. This will lead to a positive impact on health.
6. Food will be at the appropriate temperature when guests eat because of less time spent in the servery filling up a tray.
7. There will be less congestion in the servery due to guests filling up a plate rather than a tray.
8. Encourages students and other campus community members to actively participate in a “green” initiative that has both a personal and community impact.
9. Helps educate students and other campus community members on the positive environmental effects that a small change can make.
10. Guests in Anderson Commons will have a better visual experience without the trays. The atmosphere will change from institution to more homey.
2. Why can’t we donate the food instead of throwing it away?
Due to Minnesota food code, food that is served, either on your plate or on the serving line, is unable to be donated or reused. At DS, staff members track the portions served of every item in Anderson Commons at every meal, every day, and base future food forecasts on those figures. If less food is taken, less food is prepared the next time that particular menu item is served. Therefore, the less that our guests waste, the less we waste.
Food that is prepared but not served is donated to Daily Bread.
3. What about going plateless?
1. Based on Minnesota food code, every time a guest returns for more food they would have to grab another large tray, even for a small item.
2. Trays are not meant to be used as plates – they can’t stand up to knives and forks so they would have to be replaced more often.
3. Studies show the larger your area to fill with food, the more food you will take. Filling up a tray with food would lead to a dramatic increase in food waste.
4. Trays are larger than plates so the dishwasher would have to run longer because fewer can fit in at one time, using more water, chemicals and electricity.
4. Doesn’t the dishwasher in Anderson run constantly?
The dishmachine is a closed system. The tanks are filled in the morning and water is changed throughout the day to ensure proper cleaning. The more wares that are washed, the more frequently the water needs to be drained and the tanks sprayed out and refilled. More draining, spraying, and refilling results in increased water usage.
The dishmachine runs constantly during the time it is needed. Reducing the quantity of wares that need to be washed reduces the overall running time per day. Reduced running time results in reduced electrical and chemical usage.
The dishwasher in Anderson is one of the most eco-friendly models available.
5. Aren’t there going to be more people dropping and breaking plates since they don’t have a tray?
This actually has been something of a concern at those universities that have gone trayless, but all report the problem is minimal, especially as students become more adept at carrying tableware without a tray. Most report nominal increases in breakage that are more than offset by savings in food waste.
6. Is this going to stop me from taking as much as I want?
Guests are welcome to eat as much as they care to eat. Removing trays encourages guests to only take as much as they are going to eat. Guests can always go back for seconds or even thirds.
7. Is Concordia the only school trying trayless?
No. In fact colleges and universities across the country have gone completely trayless. Some of those schools include: University of Minnesota, NDSU, Berkeley, NYU, University of Illinois, and many more.
8. Are trays available if I want one?
Trays will not be available to guests unless they have received an official exemption, which must be approved by the exemption committee. In order to receive an exemption the person must apply and prove one of the following:
1) A temporary or permanent disability or injury that significantly impairs a person’s ability to transport food without the use of a tray.
2) A documented requirement or need to consume an unusually large quantity of food (such as for certain athletes) combined with an unusually short amount of time for the meal (due to class schedule, etc.). In these cases, exemptions will be granted on a semester-by-semester basis.
3) Other reasonable, demonstrable, and unusual conditions as approved by the committee.
An exemption will only be granted in rare circumstances and guests should not apply for one without a very compelling reason.