Reduce, Reuse … Bon Appétit
By Gia Rassier '10
Hungry animals and the absence of trays are helping Concordia reduce and recycle leftovers.
Since eliminating dining trays in summer 2009, Anderson Commons, the college’s main dining facility, has seen a 40 percent decrease in food waste from the year before. That equals 108 pounds of food for every 1,000 customers or more than 300 pounds of food each day.
Dining Services also now supplies scrap fruit and vegetables to feed the biology department’s cockroaches, walking sticks, iguanas, bearded dragons and a tortoise named Gloria. Each week the animals indulge in 10 to 15 pounds of peels, cores and items that would typically be tossed.
“We are constantly looking for ways to reduce the waste we generate,” says Janet Paul Rice, associate director of Dining Services. Reducing food waste supports the campus roadmap to sustainability.
Dining Services gauges food waste by conducting studies twice per year; one in the fall and one in the spring. During these studies, any food that would normally be disposed of is collected into large bins and weighed.
As for the animal feedings, the scraps have dual benefits, according to the Exotic Animal Care and Husbandry student organization that cares for the animals.
“We have barely had to go grocery shopping,” says Amber Ferris ‘10, Hibbing, Minn. “The food recycling program has saved immensely on both time and money.”
Photo: Sheldon Green