Sustainability, which refers to maintaining and preserving the future ecosystem, has become an increasing concern of today's society. A waste audit of the Village Two cafeteria at the University of Waterloo was conducted to determine the impacts of its wastes on the campus ecosystem, and to offer solutions to reduce the negative impacts from the waste generation.

Since the implementation of the new Debit meal card system to the Village two cafeteria in the Fall of 1993, it has been predicted that the convenience of the system would decrease the waste production thus, reducing the amount of waste needing to be disposed of at the local landfill sites.


We gratefully wish to acknowledge and thank the suggestions of Mark Murdoch, Patti Cook, Heidi Bishop and Shahnaz Zaheer. We would also like to thank all the kitchen staff and residents of the Village Two Residence for their cooperation, patience and inputs into our study.


The fundamental character of our society raises some important questions when considering social causes and human activities that contribute to waste generation. Landfill sites are quickly approaching their carrying capacities. It is crucial to environmental sustainability to formulate a plan of action to reduce waste production, and to find alternatives to disposing waste in landfills through activities such as composting and recycling. By creating awareness of the increasing problem of excessive waste generation, and by offering alternatives, attitudes towards waste reduction will play a vital role in the attainment of sustainability.

Sustainability is not a state that can be attained, but is rather an ongoing process that is achieved through minimizing the impacts of today's society on tomorrow's environment. The reduction of waste generated is an integral part of the quest for sustainability. The waste audit of the new Debit meal card system at the Village Two cafeteria of the University of Waterloo plays a critical role on the campus ecosystem. The cafeteria generates a substantial amount of the waste produced on campus. An audit of the source of waste generation is essential in developing alternative strategies for significantly reducing the quantity of waste produced, and thus eliminating waste disposal problems through such programs as recycling and composting. This is only one step in contributing to the attainment of sustainability, both on campus and in the global ecosystem.

The University of Waterloo has demonstrated its commitment to achieving sustainability through assembling the WATgreen program. The goal of this program is to work towards a sustainable campus by recognizing, researching and when possible implementing more viable practices within the University community. The University of Waterloo has played a vital role in developing a sustainable campus waste management system.


According to Patti Cook, the University of Waterloo's waste management coordinator, it currently costs ninety dollars in tipping fees per tonne of waste that is taken from the University of Waterloo. The frequency of the pick-ups depend on the location that it is taken from. Usually, the frequency of pick-ups ranges from two to six times per week. However, the waste is picked up from Village Two six times per week due the volume of waste, and type of waste. As a University community, over 170 tonnes of waste is sent away each month.[1]

In addition, Patti Cook also noted that according to the visual waste audit performed in March of 1992, there was quite a considerable amount of waste disposed in the residence rooms. With the implementation of the new Debit meal plan, Villagers are allowed to take food out of the cafeteria. In previous years, removal of food from the cafeteria would result in an automatic ten dollar fine if caught by the Village Dons. The Villagers that do take food into their rooms, alter the waste audit in two ways:

1) The food taken out of the cafeteria is a factor to consider because the food and packaging waste is not accounted for when weighing the waste by class.

2) The Villager, as a number, does not count in our data collection.

The University of Waterloo has contracted Laidlaw Disposal Ltd. to haul it's waste away. Monthly fees are presently $4,660.[[ordmasculine]][[ordmasculine]] for solid wastes, with a recycling surcharge of approximately $45,000[[ordmasculine]][[ordmasculine]] on top of the $4,660.[[ordmasculine]][[ordmasculine]]. From these figures, a clear realization that waste management practices at the University of Waterloo is very expensive. The composition of the University's waste stream can be seen in the audit performed in the fall of 1992. The top ten waste types were:

Figure 1: U of W's Top Ten Waste Categories

Type of Waste Percentage of Total

1) Compostables 18.40%

2) Non-compostables 8.95%

3) Paper Towels 8.50%

4) Film Plastic 6.55%

5) White ledger paper 5.89%

6) Newsprint 5.57%

7) Clear glass 4.70%

8) Rigid plastic 3.78%

9) Boxboard 3.33%

10) Tissue paper 3.28%

Source: Patti Cook, WATgreen

This chart illustrates only two categories that apply to the waste audit; compostable and non-compostable waste. The "other" category in the Village Two waste audit cannot be compared to this data collection because the waste has been divided into more specific categories (i.e. white ledger paper, boxboard, and tissue paper).

2.1- FOOD SERVICES- Contribution to a Sustainable Campus

Food services has already reduced waste significantly by distributing over 20,000 Lug-A Mugs to University staff and students. Seventy percent of all meals are served on china and flatware to reduce the amount of disposable dishes on campus. The Village Two cafeteria has moved to more sustainable practices by making a strong commitment to purchasing recycled products, and encouraging recycling within the kitchen and cafeteria. However, the quest for sustainability on campus is an ongoing process, with each step contributing to a healthier environment.

2.2- THE SYSTEM-The University of Waterloo

The systems overview diagram (Figure 2) illustrates the flow of food from production to consumption and the waste flow from consumption to disposal. Each component of the general food system is in itself a system, with its own boundaries and characteristics. The system components occur in the following sequence:

1) AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM - This system is where the production process occurs of vegetables, grains and meats.

2) PROCESSING / MANUFACTURING - This system is where the food is processed, packaged and distributed to the University of Waterloo.

3) FOOD DISTRIBUTION - Once the food products are purchased by the University they are then distributed to the Village Two cafeteria and other on campus food outlets.

The boundaries established in this system study is represented by the box which encompasses the University of Waterloo's food distribution system. Final preparation of the food occurs at these outlets and is distributed for consumption by the students and staff at the University of Waterloo.

From the University of Waterloo food system boundary comes a flow of waste which is generated from each stage within the system boundary. The waste is then separated, and recyclables are taken to the materials recovery facility, and all other waste is disposed of at the local landfill site.

2.3- THE SUBSYSTEM- Village Two Cafeteria

To achieve sustainability on campus it is essential to acknowledge the quantity of waste generated, particularly at the Food Service outlets. Focusing on one subsystem, the Village Two cafeteria, demonstrates the vital role of monitoring waste disposal in order to determine viable options to excessive waste production, and alternatives to waste disposal. There is an obvious demand to investigate programs that incorporate reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking values, attitudes and behaviours towards sustainability on campus concerning waste.

The distribution of food from the University of Waterloo system to the subsystem (Figure 3) of the Village Two cafeteria commences from the kitchen area on through to the landfill disposal site. These stages consist of;

1) KITCHEN AREA - This is the site for unpacking and food preparation.

2) SURVERY AREA - The prepared food is distributed to the Villagers.

3) CAFETERIA AREA - Villagers consume and dispose of their wastes in the provided garbage bins in this area.

4) LANDFILL SITE - The waste from the Village Two cafeteria is disposed of here (Erb St.).

The waste accumulated from the kitchen and cafeteria areas are separated into three categories: food flows. waste flows and recyclable flows (Figure 4). Food flows begin in the kitchen as the food is prepared, then the meals are distributed to the Villagers in the servery area. Occasionally, unserved portions of food are reused, such as vegetables and meat in soup or stews. The food flows continue until the food is either consumed, or disposed of in the waste bins in the cafeteria. Waste and recyclable flows are collected in the kitchen and in cafeteria areas, and are disposed of at the local landfill site or the materials recovery facility, respectively.

Actors are organizations, groups or individuals who become involved in an issue because they are either part of the problem, part of the solution or are affected by whatever happens(ERS 100 Course Notes, 1992). There are three different types of actors that are involved with varying degrees of commitment: the core actors, the supporting actors and the "should-be" actors. The core actors are those who participate in trying to reduce the amount of waste generated by making the meal plan more efficient, such as Mark Murdoch, the Director of Food Services. Supporting actors are those that are subjected to, and should be aware of, the amount of waste disposed of, such as the Village Two kitchen staff. The "should-be" actors are those that should-be concerned with the protection of the environment, such as the students that the new meal card is affecting, which is ultimately everyone.


A new Food Services meal plan was implemented at the University of Waterloo, Village One and Two residences, in September of 1993. The new meal plan is a Debit Card system which is mandatory to purchase with the Village accommodations. A Villager has the choice of buying a Basic Plan ($995), a Convenience Plan ($1195), or a Value Plus Complete Plan ($1395). This new meal card has many advantages. The Villagers have the convenience of buying their meals with their Value Plus meal card, which deducts the cost of the meal from the money balance on the card. The Value Plus Card may be used at any on campus Food Services outlets (13 in total), and three off-campus establishments, East Side Marios, Pizza Pizza and Kelsey's. The meals purchased at the Village Two cafeteria are permitted to be brought out of the cafeteria area. The new meal system has no set meal-times. The Village One and Two cafeteria are open for service from 7am to 7pm, except for weekends when Village Two is closed.


The Village Two Residence Buffet was introduced this past 1993 Fall term. The Buffet is an "all-you-can-eat" theme for the price of $9.95. It is offered two nights a week, Mondays and Wednesday from 4:30 pm-7:00 pm. The buffet is located in a separate dining room next to the main cafeteria (Figure 5) Buffet customers have the convenience of having their dishes cleared for them by waitresses. The menu consists of two main entrees with a variety of side dishes (i.e.. salads, fruits, deserts and beverages).


The previous meal system was an "all you can eat" style. The student paid a set fee that was included into the cost of residence, which was paid for at the beginning of each term. Village Two offered two different meal plans, a seven day plan ($1155) and a five day plan excluding weekends ($995). With this meal system, students were allowed to take as much food as they wished, with exception of one entree per meal. Students paid for this plan in advance, thus they were not reimbursed for missed meals. The cafeteria had set meal times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Villagers had to obtain a meal voucher from the Village Two cafeteria the day before their intended meal at another on campus food outlet. Most importantly, Villagers were not permitted to take food out of the servery area, forcing them to dispose of "all" uneaten food before leaving the cafeteria.


The waste audit of the Village Two cafeteria has determined the viability of the new meal card system through analysis of the quantity and quality of the waste produced. Due to the accessibility of the new Debit system at all Food Services outlets and three off campus establishments, the relative novelty of this system is important to analyze because of its versatility. A survey of randomly selected Villagers will illustrate the frequency of meals consumed at food outlets other than Village Two.


Quantitative and qualitative data was collected in the waste audit of the Village Two cafeteria. The quantitative and qualitative data consisted of the weight of waste for each criteria, compostable, non-compostable and other, generated per person per meal for each sampled day. Quantitative data was collected in the peak hour of the Village Two Cafeteria. Fifteen sets of data was collected. The weights of waste for each of the three categories was collected for each meal on each sampled day as the raw data indicates (Appendix A). The surveys completed by 200 Villagers in Village Two were also utilized for qualitative and quantitative analysis.


Upon examining the amount of waste produced per person per meal in the Village Two cafeteria, it was essential to divide the methods section into two areas of examination:

1) The waste audit for the Village Two cafeteria and buffet.

2) The survey for the Village Two student residents.

5.1- Purpose of the Cafeteria and Buffet Waste Audit

The purpose of a quantitative/qualitative waste audit of the Village Two cafeteria was performed to determine the amount and type of waste generated by the residents of Village Two with the new Debit meal card system. The waste disposed of from the cafeteria includes all unconsumed food from the plates of the students and other containers or wrappings the food may have been in when purchased from the Village Two cafeteria.

A waste audit of the buffet was done separately from the main cafeteria for various reasons. Firstly, the buffet waste is disposed of in a separate area than the main cafeteria. Secondly, the buffet meal system is a different set-up from the main cafeteria servery. The buffet offers an "all-you-can-eat" menu, whereas in the main cafeteria one must purchase what he/she desires.

5.2- Criteria of the Waste Audit

1) COMPOSTABLE MATERIAL -- any organic substance, not including meat, bones, fat and dairy products. This includes coffee grounds, tea bags, vegetable scraps, bread, French fries, fruit and pasta.

2) NON-COMPOSTABLE MATERIAL- all meat, fat, bones and dairy products.

3) OTHER MATERIAL- paper packaging and napkins, plastic packaging wrap, and aluminum foil.

5.3- Methods of the Waste Audit

In examining the amount of waste produced from the Village Two cafeteria, numerous steps and assumptions were determined.

Step #1: Study Area

Location: The Village Two Cafeteria (Figure 5)

Significant features of the Village Two cafeteria include the flow of people, the location of where the waste was produced by the cafeteria and where it would be collected. The location of the buffet and the area that the waste produced by the buffet was collected in a separate area, therefore requiring a separate waste audit.

Step #2: Determining Peak Hours

In order to obtain the most accurate samplings of the amount of waste being produced, peak hours were determined (Figure 6). Heidi Bishop, the Head of Village Two Food Services, provided the exact number of people purchasing food from the cafeteria at one hour intervals (i.e.. 8am to 9am, 9am to 10am).

NOTE: Knowledge of service hours, 7am to 7pm, was essential when examining the waste being produced. Designated hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner were then determined.

Figure 6: Peak Flow Chart for Village Two Cafeteria

SOURCE: Heidi Bishop (Appendix B)

Step #3 Sampling periods.

Being aware of all procedures, times were designated for conducting the waste audit for the peak hour during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Village Two cafeteria has a four week rotating food cycle in which a random selection of sampling times between March 9 to March 28 was chosen. Data was collected for one full rotary cycle. (Appendix C).

Step #4: Sampled Meals

Five samples of each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, were derived by a menu provided by Heidi Bishop (Appendix C). Five different meals were chosen based on the nature of the entrees served (i.e.. pastas, meats, stews). Five separate types of meals were audited as it provided the waste audit with a substantial amount of variety.

Step #4: Data / Waste Collection

To achieve exact data, the waste collected was divided into three components; Compostable; Non-Compostable; and Other Waste. Food wastes that were disposed of under each of these three categories are:

Figure 7: Categories of Waste

Compostable Non-Compostable Other

-vegetable scraps - all meats - packaging

-bread - fat -plastics

-french fries - bones -napkins

-fruits - dairy products -aluminum

- pasta -foil

-tea bags -paper

-coffee grounds

-salads (without meat)

SOURCE: ERS 319 Course Notes

Separate garbage bins were allocated to each type of waste. Signs were attached to each bin to aid the students sorting their waste. The group members also assisted in the separation of the waste to reduce the margin of error of the final data.

Step # 5: Measuring the Waste

The waste was collected in garbage bags and tied at the top allowing them to be hung by the hook on the bottom of the Food Scale. Calibration for the weight of the garbage bag, .05 kg, was taken into consideration. This technique provided more precise data.

Step #6: Buffet Analysis

After the buffet customers have finished their meals, the waitress clears their dishes and disposes the waste in a separate room (Figure 5). The waste was also separated into three bins: compostable, non-compostable, and others. At approximately 7 pm the garbage was taken out of the three bins and separately weighed, as was done in the main cafeteria.

Step #4: Data Analysis

The waste audit focused on the amount of waste per person per meal. People were not counted as they entered or exited the cafeteria, but rather only those that produced and disposed of their waste in the cafeteria were accounted for.


6.1- Discussion of Waste Audit And Buffet Results

The waste audit was necessary for the Village Two cafeteria due to the implementation of the new Debit meal card system introduced in the Fall of 1993. A waste audit was performed on the Village Two cafeteria in the Fall of 1991. Due to the relative newness of the Debit card system, it was important to analyze the amount of waste generated

Figure 8: Weight of Waste per Person Per Meal

SOURCE: Appendix G

Emphasis was mainly on the weight, averages and standard deviation of the amount of wastes per person per meal (Figure 8). By calculating the averages of compostable, non-compostable and other waste generated by each person at each meal time, of each sampled day, an accurate representation of the statistics was obtained. The highest amount of waste generated per person per day, was the compostable waste division. Furthermore, the highest amount of waste generated per person per day was at dinner time, as the meals at dinner are heaviest due to the volume and the weight of the food served.

In order to perform the waste audit for the Village Two cafeteria specific research was required. Results displayed that there were peak numbers of people at the hours of 8:00 am - 9:00 am, 12:00 - 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm. These three time slots were allocated for breakfast, lunch and diner waste examinations.

The highest average amount of waste generated per person is at dinner which is 0.094Kg, compared to 0.060 kg at lunch and 0.037 Kg at breakfast. The average weight (in Kg) of waste generated for each category for dinner are:

Figure 9: Average Weight for Waste Per Category for Dinner


0.043 kg 0.034 kg 0.017


SOURCE: Appendix E

From the three criteria of waste, compostables averaged the highest of all, at 0.061 kg/person/meal. It was then followed by Non-Compostable, 0.069 kg/person/meal, and then Other Waste, 0.021kg/person/meal. Reasoning for this order could be the result of the pre-packaged salads. Numerous students purchased these salads at diner time, but because of the pre-packaged salads , a choice of how large or small of salads they could buy was not an option. If a student wanted to eat salad, they must purchase the whole container. This lead to many half eaten salads being thrown out. Also because of the salad dressing being pre-applied, it made it difficult to keep the salads fresh and therefore the student had little choice but to throw the salads out.

The amount of compostable, and non-compostable waste was most among the three meals at dinner. The cafeteria offered chicken, ribs and meat which made up lots of non-compostable waste. Fruits, vegetables, and juices made up most of the compostable waste. On March 22, the amount of non-compostable waste was extremely low at 0.006 kg, comparing with the average 0.034 kg (Appendix E). It was because the meat served on that day could be separated easily from the other food, therefore the compostable waste was not be contaminated. The amount of compostable waste on that day was 0.061 kg, higher than the average which was 0.043 kg.

The meal with the second highest statistics was lunch. The average weight (in Kg) of waste generated for each category for lunch are:

Figure 10: Average Weight of Waste Per Category For Lunch


0.033 kg 0.013 kg 0.014kg


0.060 kg

SOURCE: Appendix E

Compostable waste was of the greatest quantity. More than 50% of the waste generated per person at lunch time was due to the compostable waste because most of the food offered were fruits, vegetables, and bread. Furthermore, the results indicated that the amount of Other Waste was larger than that of Non-Compostable. Hence, more foods were wrapped in plastic packaging.

The average amount of waste generated per person at breakfast time is the least among the three meals. The food offered was light, not causing much waste. There was no non-compostable waste during breakfast. The reason was that the food offered by the cafeteria were mainly cereals, toast, fruits, and muffins. The average amount of "others" waste generated per person was slightly higher than that of the compostable waste at breakfast. It was also higher than the average weight of "others" waste at the other meal times. This was because the packaging was the greatest at breakfast time. The average weight (in kg) of waste generated for each category at breakfast are:

Figure 11: Average Weight of Waste Per Category for Breakfast


0.017 kg 0.000 kg 0.020 kg


0.0370 kg

SOURCE: Appendix E

It is essential to notice that even though the overall waste average was notably smaller than that of lunch and diner, one of the three components were inconsistent with the low statistics of this meal. Non-Compostables exceeded all the other waste types and even exceeded that of the lunch statistic. This could possibly be a result of the type of meal served those days.

Three buffet meals were sampled in the audit. The total average of waste generated per person per day at the buffet was slightly greater than that of the results from the main cafeteria waste audit. Although the buffet offers an "all you can eat" dinner, it does not make a significant difference on the average waste generated per person (Appendix F). Given that Villagers are able to take and eat more food at the buffet than at the main servery, an increase in waste production is expected. On the March 16 buffet sample, most of the waste generated was non-compostable, as ribs and half chicken were the main entree. The bone remains contributed to the majority of the final weight measured. Otherwise, the other two buffets sampled produced a extremely lower non-compostable sample. This was due to the fact that the menu consisted of pre-cut boneless meats (i.e.. roast, hip and striploin beef). The average weight (in kg) of waste generated for each category for the buffet are:

Figure 12: Average Weight of Waste Per Category for Dinner



0.174 kg

SOURCE: Appendix F

SOURCE: Appendix G

6.2- Comparison of Present and Past Village Two Waste Audits

When the data of the winter 1994 waste audit was compared to that of the Fall 1991, the average and the total amounts of compostable and non-compostable waste generated per person at each meal was lower in 1994 than that of 1991.(Figure 13&14) This is probably due to the design of the meal plan. It was an "all you can eat" meal plan in 1991 and Villagers were not allowed to take food out of the cafeteria. Therefore, there was much more waste generated in 1991 as it was mandatory that Villagers threw the food that they did not desire to eat into the garbage. With the 1994 Debit meal card system, Villagers are allowed to take food out of the cafeteria. Therefore, this year with the new Debit meal card system Villagers do not take as much food as they did last year, due to the fact that they have to pay for each item that they desire. Although the average amounts of compostable and non-compostable waste generated per person per meal in 1994 are lower than that of 1991, the average amount of other waste generated per person at each meal in 1994 is higher than that of the 1991 because the amount of packaging included in the meals in 1994 is higher than that of the 1991.


7.1- Purpose of Survey

The survey (Appendix G) was an extension of the Food Waste Audit (1994) of the University of Waterloo, Village Two- residence cafeteria. The purpose of the survey was to determine the purchasing patterns of the Villagers with the new Debit meal card system. This was used to identify whether the new meal plan has redistributed the waste generated by Village Two residents (i.e. the 11 on-campus Food Service outlets, the 3 off-campus restaurants, or the Village One cafeteria), or if the quantity of waste has actually decreased.

7.2- Method of Survey

There was 288 surveys distributed to six Village Two floors (48 people/floor). Two hundred surveys was the target number of returns (200 is approx. 1/4 of Village Two population) as it would provide an accurate sample size. There were three North Quad floors and three South Quad floors chosen for the surveys. In order to decrease bias the South Quad was chosen since it is a "Quiet Quad" where students possibly lead different lifestyles and thus they may possess different attitudes. To further decrease the bias, three female floors (North C, D, and South C) and three male floors (South A, D, and North E) were involved in the survey. The format of the survey was self-explanatory and very easy to follow .

7.3- Survey Limitations

There were various problems and limitations which occurred with this survey. The obvious problem was that not everyone who received the survey filled it out and return it to their floor Don. Another problem was that not all the floors had exactly 48 residents, some Villagers moved out after the Fall term and some went on their Co-op work term. As a solution to these two problems, an extra 96 surveys (two floors, South B and North A) were given surveys to guarantee the 200 target number of returns. The results of the survey was based on the honesty of the resident who filled them out.

7.4- Discussion of the Results from the Survey

The survey ( Appendix G) of the Village Two Residents was conducted to identify the purchasing patterns of the new Debit meal card system. The survey was used to determine the frequency of meals eaten in the Village Two cafeteria and at other on campus and off campus food outlets. The results obtained were derived from a series of two hundred completed surveys.

The first question of the survey (Appendix H), " Approximately how many times do you eat in the Village Two cafeteria in one week?" , was used to determine the amount of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, eaten by the Villagers in the Village Two cafeteria each week. The weekly attendance at breakfast was minimal because Village Two does not offer "hot" breakfast , thus breakfast in Village Two is not so appealing to the Villagers. On their way to class, Villagers could stop at the Village One cafeteria for a hot breakfast. Another possible factor resulting in the low attendance at breakfast is the expensive nature of the cold breakfast. Many Villagers are purchasing breakfast foods that can be prepared and consumed in their own room (i.e.. cereals and fruit). Another major contributor to the low attendance is the simple matter that Villagers either sleep through breakfast or are in too much of a rush to get to class. Out of the two hundred that were surveyed, ninety-four never attend breakfast during the week.

The survey indicated that there was a low attendance at the Village Two cafeteria for lunch throughout the week. The results illustrated that 20 per cent of the Villagers never attended lunch at the Village Two cafeteria. Reasons for the small flow of students through the Village Two cafeteria at lunch would be the versatile nature of the new Debit meal card. Since some Villagers are not in residence during lunch hours they are purchasing their lunches at various other on and off campus facilities.

A high attendance level in the Village Two residence was illustrated during the dinner hours. Seventy-nine per cent of Villagers indicated on the survey that they attended dinner in the Village Two cafeteria four and five times per week (note: Village Two cafeteria closed on weekends). The large attendance is related to the fact that most Villagers do not have evening classes that conflict with the Village Two dinner hours. Dinner is also a time during the day when Villagers can socialize with each other. These results are significant as the most amount of waste was produced during dinner hours.

The second question of the survey was (Appendix I), "When you obtain meal from the Village Two cafeteria, approximately how many times do you take the food out of the cafeteria to eat elsewhere in one week?'. This question was helpful in determining the waste flows that may be exiting the Village Two cafeteria. The results were very low for this section. This indicates that a small number of Villagers are bringing food out of the cafeteria area, either back to their rooms or to eat on their way to class. The results illustrated that under 20 per cent of the two hundred surveyed Villagers removed food from the Village Two cafeteria more than two times in a week.

These results were surprising due to the convenience of packaged meals available in the Village Two cafeteria. Dave Reynolds, Manager of Village Two, has observed an evident increase in the amount of waste produced on the Village floors per week since the implementation of the new Debit meal card system. He directly relates this increase to the ability of the Villagers to bring food out of the cafeteria, and disposing of the wastes in other garbage containers. This data did not have a significant impact on the waste audit results due to the reason that so few people removed meals from the cafeteria to deposit their waste elsewhere.

The third question of the survey (Appendix J&K) listed the eleven on campus, and three off campus food outlets that are accessible by the new Debit meal card. The Villagers were to specify which outlet they purchased meals at and how often per week. The results indicated that a small percentage of Villagers consumed breakfast at other on campus outlets due to the fact that not many outlets have a breakfast menu. However, Pastry Plus outlets, located in South Campus Hall, B.M.H., and the Davis Center, offer baked goods (i.e.. muffins and bagels), thus attracting Villagers to purchase breakfast items.

As previously mentioned, a large number of Villagers purchase their meals at other establishments besides the Village Two cafeteria during the lunch hours per week. Out of the two hundred Villagers surveyed, forty-one Villagers purchased meals at other food outlets five times in one week. These results indicate that a large number of Villagers are taking advantage of the versatility of the new Debit meal card system. It is more convenient for the Villagers to purchase their lunches on campus opposed to returning to the Village Two cafeteria.

The results for the frequency of Villagers purchasing their meals at other food outlets with their Debit card is low during the dinner hours. As previously mentioned, there is a large attendance at the Village Two cafeteria during these hours. During the dinner hours, Villagers, are typically in Village Two, thus the convenience of eating at the Village Two cafeteria is greater.

The fourth question (Appendix L), "Approximately how many times do you eat in the Village One cafeteria in one week?", was important in determining the effects of the Village Two cafeteria not serving hot breakfasts or being open on weekends. The meal most frequently attended at the Village One cafeteria was lunch. Due to the Village Two cafeteria being closed on weekends, just under twenty-five percent of Villagers used the Village One cafeteria in one week, and just over thirty per cent purchased their meals there twice a week.

Question five of the survey (Appendix M), "Approximately how many times do you eat at the Village Two Buffet in one week?", was necessary to determine because the waste is deposited in a separate container. Out of the two hundred Villagers surveyed, one hundred and thirteen people never use the buffet. The buffet is only offered twice weekly, thus the amount of people using the buffet was low. Out of the Villagers surveyed only fifty-nine people used the buffet once per week, and sixteen twice per week. These figures indicate that the buffet may have been too expensive, the entrees may have not been appealing to the Villagers, and because it was not offered regularly, those nights it was offered was not convenient for the Villagers. The forty-four per cent of the Villagers that did use the buffet were attracted by the restaurant atmosphere, and unlimited quantities.


A similar study was conducted in the Village One kitchen and cafeteria during the summer of 1993 and the winter of 1994. The summer study included a waste audit of the Old meal plan system, and the winter study examined the new Debit meal card system. The Village One study was conducted by Shahnaz Zaheer, a third year Environment and Resource Studies, as an ERS 390's project.

The results indicate that there has been a decrease in waste production of the Village One cafeteria area, while the waste generated in the kitchen area has increased. Through a survey distributed to Village One students that have experienced both the Old meal plan and the new Debit meal card system, a comparison was possible. The overall survey results indicate that 57% of the sampled Villagers felt that the quality of the food has remained the same, and 36% feel that the quality of the food has improved. Meals consumed off campus by the Village One students was 33% more often than that of Village Two students. The surveyed Villagers prefer the new Debit meal card system by 76%. The Village One residents feel that the new Debit meal card system produces much less waste than the previous system and 24% feel that the new Debit meal card produces the same amount of waste as the old meal card.

The results determined by Shahnaz Zaheer for the Village One kitchen and cafeteria waste audit and survey was quite similar to that done of the Village Two cafeteria waste audit and survey. The trend of the new Debit meal system for both Village One and Two residents is to take advantage of the versatility of the new Debit meal card at other food services outlets. As indicated by the students that have experiences both meal systems, the new Debit card system has definite advantages both for student convenience and the impact of waste generation.


It is inevitable that some amount of waste will be generated in the Village Two cafeteria. What can be altered is what becomes of the waste that is produced. Instead of being sent directly to landfill sites where absolutely no productivity becomes of the waste, many uses may be derived from this waste if it is properly separated into compostable, non-compostable and other waste.

The waste audit and survey of the new Debit meal card system implemented at the Village Two cafeteria was successful in demonstrating the versatility of the new system. The survey indicates that the Villagers are taking full advantage of the convenience of the Debit card, and are purchasing their meals at a variety of on campus and off campus food establishments. By tracing the purchasing patterns of the meal card and conducting the Village Two waste audit it is evident that their is a redistribution of waste from Village Two to the other food outlets that the Villagers have access to with their meal cards. The amount of waste produced per person per meal for this meal plan is less than the previous study of the old meal plan conducted in the Fall of 1991. Overall, the waste generated in the Village Two cafeteria has declined with the implementation of the new Debit meal card system.


1) The compostable material can easily be transformed into products such as fertilizers. Many non-compostable and "other" wastes prove to be of resource in manufacturing reusable products.

2) The compostable materials could also be sold to local pig farmers for pig feed.

3) Eliminating disposable products can be achieved by replacing all disposable plates, cups, cutlery etc.. with flatware within the Village Two cafeteria containers and dinnerware. A charge can be implemented to the Villagers if there is the fear of dinner wear theft, or for the use of any disposable products. Control of theft can also be attained through monitoring the Villagers who leave the cafeteria area with meals on the flatware.

4) Campus Mess Kits can also be distributed among students in providing alternatives to disposable products.

5) The distribution of flatware to all on campus food services outlets would definitely decrease the amount of disposable products used on campus.

6) In the Village Two cafeteria, and at all food services outlets, dispensers for single packaged items can be eliminated by implementing the use of large bulk containers (i.e.. peanut butter, jam, salad dressings, drinks, butter etc..).

7) Due to the large amount of waste produced by the buffet, a book ahead buffet system will allow the kitchen staff to prepare for the amount of people to minimize the amount of leftovers.


It is recommended that future studies be conducted in the food services system of the University of Waterloo. Studies that will monitor the changes that occur concerning waste generation, such as conducting a waste audit of the Village TWo kitchen area. This study would be followed up to the Village Two cafeteria study, and the Village One kitchen and cafeteria study. An immediate study to determine the feasibility of eliminating disposable products should be commenced, since disposable products constitute a large percentage of the waste generation on campus. Many devices can be utilized to deter the over and unnecessary consumption of the disposable products. A study focusing on compostable materials within the Food Services outlets may also aid in determining alternatives to waste reduction going to landfill areas.