TRAYLESSNESS!

210034121_d2af75637cThe Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship (SAGES) put up fliers today announcing that Usdan will “go trayless” next year. Starting on September 8, 2009, the slight annoyance that many students feel every “Trayless Tuesday” will become an everyday occurrence.

On the other hand, we will be saving a lot of energy. According to the flyers:

  • “A comprehensive study found that traylessness results in a 25 to 30% reduction in food waste per person.”
  • “Energy related to food production and consumption represents 10% of the total energy consumed in the United States.”
  • “The amount of food thrown away in the US annually is equivalent to $100 billion.”
  • “The methane released from food waste in landfills is 12 times worse than carbon dioxide.” (I assume they mean 12 times worse for the ozone layer.)

The argument seems to be as follows: “Traylessness” reduces food waste per person, because it forces students to be selective in what they bring back to their tables. Obviously, waste is bad for the environment and Bon Appétit’s/the University’s bottom line, and we should seek to reduce it.

That makes sense. Now, how do you, the students, feel about this idea? Should we have been included in the decision to go trayless, or is the benefit of this program so obvious that the decision of SAGES should not be questioned? Comment away.

Here are a few relevant links:

EON Blog: Aramark Study on Trayless Dining
Wasted Food: Studying Traylessness

[EDIT] This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the Wesleyan Sustainability Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship (SAGES), and not Bon Appétit, is responsible for the traylessness initiative:

Bon Appétit is not the group behind traylessness. Students are actually the ones who spearheaded this campaign. We have been working on it for months and Bon Appétit has finally approved it—they are not in charge of it, and whether or not they approved it for the cost savings, going trayless is entirely a student effort. If you read the posters, you’ll see that traylessness is sponsored by the SAGES Waste Committeee, a group of students, faculty, and staff, not by Bon Appétit.

Thanks to Katherine Yagle ’12, a member of SAGES, for bringing this to our attention. [Justin, 2009-04-28 12:56 PM]

80 thoughts on “TRAYLESSNESS!

  1. Anonymous

    I see no problem with reducing waste and saving Wesleyan money at the same time. Worst case scenario you get exercise walking back for seconds instead of heaping up four plates before you sit down.

  2. Anonymous

    I see no problem with reducing waste and saving Wesleyan money at the same time. Worst case scenario you get exercise walking back for seconds instead of heaping up four plates before you sit down.

  3. Anonymous

    Bon Appetit (like most campus dining service providers) is not here to make a profit, and if they go over-budget, the university is forced to make up the difference. Traylessness will reduce the likelihood of this, saving Wes $$.

  4. Anonymous

    Bon Appetit (like most campus dining service providers) is not here to make a profit, and if they go over-budget, the university is forced to make up the difference. Traylessness will reduce the likelihood of this, saving Wes $$.

  5. Anonymous

    @11:05
    What do you mean the savings won’t get passed on to students? You’re right, they won’t lower each of our tuitions by 50 cents or whatever it is they’ll save per student by doing this, but every time we save the school some money, we get a richer school in exchange. Don’t you want to help ease financial strain at Wes? Or is it only worth it to you if the savings go back in your pocket?

  6. Anonymous

    @11:05
    What do you mean the savings won’t get passed on to students? You’re right, they won’t lower each of our tuitions by 50 cents or whatever it is they’ll save per student by doing this, but every time we save the school some money, we get a richer school in exchange. Don’t you want to help ease financial strain at Wes? Or is it only worth it to you if the savings go back in your pocket?

  7. Anonymous

    The fact is, they’re going to be saving a decent amount of money, and these savings are not going to be passed on to the students. I’d be OK with it if we got something in exchange. That should be the job of the WSA–not to do fight the traylessness policy, but to force Bon Appetit and Wesleyan to give us something in exchange.

  8. Justin

    If I were here next year, I’d avoid Usdan because of this. Trayless Tuesdays are already endlessly annoying, and I give my business to WesWings on Tuesdays because of them.

    I eat a lot of food. Therefore, I take a lot of food. The only reason I don’t eat something I put on my tray is if it looked good but doesn’t taste good, which is sometimes the case. Sorry, Bon Appétit, but I’d throw that food out whether it’s on a tray or on a plate. For someone like me, it’s not going to reduce food waste; making better-tasting food would reduce food waste.

    Trays are handy for people who eat at strategic times. Visiting Usdan early lets you get all your food quickly, without waiting in lines, and without it getting cold waiting in those lines. Then you can sit down and enjoy an uninterrupted meal with friends, or eat everything quickly and rush off to whatever you have scheduled. Similarly, trays allow people who arrive late to get all their food, quickly and easily, before the cafeteria closes, without being shut out of getting more food. $9.25 isn’t a value when your schedule only allows you enough time to get a plate or two of food.

    If you want to enjoy a full meal without constantly interrupting the social aspects of eating with friends, the tray is necessary. Soup, salad, entrée, dessert, and beverage: can you get all that without a tray? Not without some serious spillage. Not without interrupting your meal to wait in line over and over.

    If the numbers being tossed around (25-30% decrease in food waste, according to the Aramark study) are accurate, then yes, trays may ultimately reduce food waste. That means less waste, less food preparation, and thus lower prices for students (hear that, Bon Appétit?). Yet, I think the inconveniencing effects of this for students, which are significant, should send the signal to Bon Appétit that they should strongly encourage going without trays, but still keep them available for students who specifically request them.

    EON has its heart in the right place, but this will be a significant inconvenience for a large number of students—students who, because neither EON nor Bon Appétit are representative of student interests, have had no say in this dining policy that affects them all, at least once and possibly twice everyday.

  9. Anonymous

    The fact is, they’re going to be saving a decent amount of money, and these savings are not going to be passed on to the students. I’d be OK with it if we got something in exchange. That should be the job of the WSA–not to do fight the traylessness policy, but to force Bon Appetit and Wesleyan to give us something in exchange.

  10. Justin

    If I were here next year, I’d avoid Usdan because of this. Trayless Tuesdays are already endlessly annoying, and I give my business to WesWings on Tuesdays because of them.

    I eat a lot of food. Therefore, I take a lot of food. The only reason I don’t eat something I put on my tray is if it looked good but doesn’t taste good, which is sometimes the case. Sorry, Bon Appétit, but I’d throw that food out whether it’s on a tray or on a plate. For someone like me, it’s not going to reduce food waste; making better-tasting food would reduce food waste.

    Trays are handy for people who eat at strategic times. Visiting Usdan early lets you get all your food quickly, without waiting in lines, and without it getting cold waiting in those lines. Then you can sit down and enjoy an uninterrupted meal with friends, or eat everything quickly and rush off to whatever you have scheduled. Similarly, trays allow people who arrive late to get all their food, quickly and easily, before the cafeteria closes, without being shut out of getting more food. $9.25 isn’t a value when your schedule only allows you enough time to get a plate or two of food.

    If you want to enjoy a full meal without constantly interrupting the social aspects of eating with friends, the tray is necessary. Soup, salad, entrée, dessert, and beverage: can you get all that without a tray? Not without some serious spillage. Not without interrupting your meal to wait in line over and over.

    If the numbers being tossed around (25-30% decrease in food waste, according to the Aramark study) are accurate, then yes, trays may ultimately reduce food waste. That means less waste, less food preparation, and thus lower prices for students (hear that, Bon Appétit?). Yet, I think the inconveniencing effects of this for students, which are significant, should send the signal to Bon Appétit that they should strongly encourage going without trays, but still keep them available for students who specifically request them.

    EON has its heart in the right place, but this will be a significant inconvenience for a large number of students—students who, because neither EON nor Bon Appétit are representative of student interests, have had no say in this dining policy that affects them all, at least once and possibly twice everyday.

  11. Anonymous

    By not using trays, Bon Appetit saves money on the costs of washing them. Without trays, students will theoretically consume less food. Will these factors be reflected in the pricing of meal plans?

  12. Anonymous

    By not using trays, Bon Appetit saves money on the costs of washing them. Without trays, students will theoretically consume less food. Will these factors be reflected in the pricing of meal plans?

  13. Anonymous

    This has nothing to do with the water used to wash the trays. They run all the dishes and trays through a machine that is constantly running the entire meal period whether or not dishes go through. (Sounds like a waste of water to me. If Bon Appetit really cares that much about the environment, wouldn’t they get more environmentally friendly dishwashers?)

    The students should have had a say in this decision since they are the ones making the sacrifice.

  14. Anonymous

    This has nothing to do with the water used to wash the trays. They run all the dishes and trays through a machine that is constantly running the entire meal period whether or not dishes go through. (Sounds like a waste of water to me. If Bon Appetit really cares that much about the environment, wouldn’t they get more environmentally friendly dishwashers?)

    The students should have had a say in this decision since they are the ones making the sacrifice.

  15. Anonymous

    I agree with the sentiment but as a waste conscious person, this will affect me very little. If I need a tray occasionally, I would prefer the option.
    I guess I’ll have to suck it up but maybe we can use that money we’re saving to have some seminars on how to wait in line and the rules of the road: staying to the right, waiting your turn, etc….. Honestly, exposing me more to that fray, it’s asking me to put a plate of food in someone’s face. I guess it’s less destructive than a tray, good looks Bon Appetit.

  16. Anonymous

    I agree with the sentiment but as a waste conscious person, this will affect me very little. If I need a tray occasionally, I would prefer the option.
    I guess I’ll have to suck it up but maybe we can use that money we’re saving to have some seminars on how to wait in line and the rules of the road: staying to the right, waiting your turn, etc….. Honestly, exposing me more to that fray, it’s asking me to put a plate of food in someone’s face. I guess it’s less destructive than a tray, good looks Bon Appetit.

  17. Anonymous

    let’s try it and see if we adjust to it. if everyone is still complaining about it after a few weeks, i’m sure they’ll change it back. but it’s good to at least try because it would save a shitload of energy.

  18. Anonymous

    let’s try it and see if we adjust to it. if everyone is still complaining about it after a few weeks, i’m sure they’ll change it back. but it’s good to at least try because it would save a shitload of energy.

  19. Anonymous

    @ #6 – yes, punish the cleaning staff who have to take care of the mess you leave behind. Very thoughtful.

    Also – second #3.

  20. Anonymous

    @ #6 – yes, punish the cleaning staff who have to take care of the mess you leave behind. Very thoughtful.

    Also – second #3.

  21. Anonymous

    Trayless Tuesdays are annoying, but I’m glad they’re doing this. It’s an easy change that makes sense to reduce food waste. The inevitable complaining about the inconvenience is mildly embarassing.

    and #4, makes the tables dirtier? They still have to clean the trays.

  22. Anonymous

    Trayless Tuesdays are annoying, but I’m glad they’re doing this. It’s an easy change that makes sense to reduce food waste. The inevitable complaining about the inconvenience is mildly embarassing.

    and #4, makes the tables dirtier? They still have to clean the trays.

  23. Anonymous

    Will meal prices remain the same, or go down next year? I think it would be difficult to justify a cost increase being passed on to students if waste will be reduced by up to 30%.

  24. Anonymous

    Does this call for a massive effort to drop as much food as possible on the floor on September 8th?

  25. Anonymous

    Will meal prices remain the same, or go down next year? I think it would be difficult to justify a cost increase being passed on to students if waste will be reduced by up to 30%.

  26. Anonymous

    Does this call for a massive effort to drop as much food as possible on the floor on September 8th?

  27. Anonymous

    fyi–Neither carbon dioxide nor methane have any effect on the ozone layer. They are both greenhouse gases (GHGs), meaning they trap heat that would otherwise be reflected out to space. Methane happens to be a much more potent GHG than carbon dioxide (the above materials say it is 12 times as strong). It is reported on less because it is less abundant in the atmosphere, and breaks down faster than carbon dioxide, but is is a serious cause for concern.

  28. Anonymous

    fyi–Neither carbon dioxide nor methane have any effect on the ozone layer. They are both greenhouse gases (GHGs), meaning they trap heat that would otherwise be reflected out to space. Methane happens to be a much more potent GHG than carbon dioxide (the above materials say it is 12 times as strong). It is reported on less because it is less abundant in the atmosphere, and breaks down faster than carbon dioxide, but is is a serious cause for concern.

  29. Anonymous

    #1:

    Reducing water and energy usage is good for the environment regardless of whether or not the motivations behind it are altruistic or not. Your cynicism, regardless of how much pleasure you get from being smarter than all the idealistic hippies you imagine surrounding you, is irrelevant.

  30. Anonymous

    #1:

    Reducing water and energy usage is good for the environment regardless of whether or not the motivations behind it are altruistic or not. Your cynicism, regardless of how much pleasure you get from being smarter than all the idealistic hippies you imagine surrounding you, is irrelevant.

  31. Anonymous

    i think that they should have slightly bigger plates with little divided sections, like tv dinners.

  32. Anonymous

    i think that they should have slightly bigger plates with little divided sections, like tv dinners.

  33. Anonymous

    this is just so that bon apetit can make even more of a killing by not having to purchase as much food

    the environmental benefits are just an afterthought that they are using to push the idea through

  34. Anonymous

    this is just so that bon apetit can make even more of a killing by not having to purchase as much food

    the environmental benefits are just an afterthought that they are using to push the idea through

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