-Madison Smith ’19
As many of you may know, Colgate’s Project Clean Plate is well underway.
For the past month, we have been keeping track of how much food waste is being created in Frank on a weekly basis. Behind the scenes, there are large scales that weigh all post-consumer food waste – banana peels, chicken bones, and all of the food that students decide not to eat. We are calculating the difference, in pounds, of waste and taking that difference to see how much food, in pounds, we are going to donate to the Hamilton Food Cupboard. Essentially, the more we reduce our waste in the dining hall, the more food gets donated to our local community.
Part of my job as an intern in the Dining Hall Sustainability Office is to table in Frank, making students aware of the initiative that we have going on. So far, I have seen a great reaction to the project. Many students believe that donating to those less fortunate than us is a great incentive to get students to be more conscious about how much food they throw away. Others are appalled by our baseline waste weight of about 1,600 pounds, but are optimistic about our goal of 1,100 pounds.
Our results so far have been rather up and down. After the first week, as seen in the image, we saw a significant drop, reducing our waste by about 25%. In the weeks since, however, we have seen fluctuations in our waste, some of that unsteadiness from variables such as fall break and a week of not tabling.
We have one more week left in the Clean Plate Project of the semester. We should all try to make it our goal to have our greatest reduction in food waste yet and to keep it at a low level for the rest of the semester!