The purpose of our study is to determine if the implemented changes at the Ron Eydt Village food services division has affected the quantity and quality of waste produced. We will perform a waste audit in the Ron Eydt Village cafeteria to serve as a case study to be used in comparison to the waste audit completed in 1994 by Shahnaz Zaheer on Village 1. Ron Eydt Village is a first year student residence formerly known as Village 2 (V2).  Our ultimate purpose is to provide information for Watgreen to help them provide information for their quest to promote a sustainably aware campus community along with the reduction in University operating costs.  We intend to examine the inputs of the system including processed and raw solid food materials. Outputs of the system will also be studied incorporating processed food by-products and student generated food waste. Our examination of the food waste system will consider external factors including food producers, processors, distributors and those who receive the waste. The food waste generated is important since disposal is costly; putting stress on the environment, such as; fossil fuel consumption by trucks gathering the wastes, air pollution, leachate from waste containers, noxious odours, and contamination of the drainage system. Other stresses include toxic run-off at landfill sights, noise pollution, and public health concerns. The reduction of waste generated will ultimately reduce the disposal costs for the University. Money that is saved can then be used for other projects which promote sustainability on campus.
     The Brundtland Commission Report defines sustainability as " meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Our vision of sustainability encompasses the beliefs presented by the Brundtland Commission and defines our goal of sustainability on the Waterloo campus.  In order to promote sustainability, we will incorporate ecosystem thinking into our project through looking at external stresses. Our main focus, however will be on the reduction of stresses to the environment within the campus ecosystem which are generated by waste disposal in the cafeteria.   The objective of the study is to reduce unnecessary waste and offer practical solutions to further reduce the waste production.


     Food services now uses a debit card system in place since the fall of 1993. Students living in residence purchase a meal plan when they are accepted into one of the residences. There are three meal plans that can be purchased. The meal plans are set up to accommodate all eating habits, range from light eaters to hearty eaters.  The debit card system is a food system where students use a Value Plus Debit Card.  This card is a declining money balance program.  Every time the student purchases a meal the amount of the purchase is debited from their account.  The Debit Card system works will accommodate the student at any Food Services outlet on campus.  Students eating in the Ron Eydt Cafeteria are no longer permitted to take food out of the Cafeteria  as of September 1997.  Students may eat off campus at :
                    - Pizza Pizza (Delivery)                                    - Swiss Chalet (Delivery)
                    - KFC (Delivery)                                            - Student Health Pharmacy
                    - East Side Mario's                                         - Waterloo Taxi
                    - Casey's                                                        - Apple II (Hair Cutting)
                    - Blue Dog Bagels
    Under the old " all you can eat" food system meals were prepaid as part of the residence fee. Students were allowed to eat as much food as they wished, but no food was allowed to leave the cafeteria. Any food remaining on a residents tray had to be disposed of before exiting the cafeteria. A resident was not reimbursed for any missed meals. The Village 2 meal plan was not honoured at any other Food Services venue on campus without a food voucher. A voucher was equivalent to $3.75 which allowed residents to eat at other food services venues except for Federation Hall. If students went over the $3.75, the difference was to be paid in cash. Students received a meal card which served two purposes; identification and proof of students residence status. It also served as an attendance record in a particular meal on a specific day. The cards were given to kitchen staff members when exiting the cafeteria. The cards were counted at the end of the day and recorded onto a spreadsheet. These records allowed the head chef to determine how many meals were prepaid.

     There have been a number of studies done in the past related to cafeteria waste on campus both before and after the debit card system was implemented. These studies provided our group with background information to assist us in our assessment of the food waste system. These include:

Village One Food Waste Study - Shahnaz Zaheer, Winter 1994.

Summary :

     As with the project done by Shahnaz Zaheer our groups objective is to determine the amount of waste generated within the Ron Eydt cafeteria.  The data collected in the Method Section, will then be compared to data collected by Shahnaz.  The project compares a previous food distribution system to the new debit card food distribution system.  Shahnaz concluded that there was a 37.29% reduction in wastes produced from the old system to the new system.  The scrape room area has shown the largest reduction in waste with 71.26%, in the amount of waste thrown away by students.  Amount of waste produced in the pot room has increased by 14.73%, and the kitchen servery waste has decreased by 7.05%.  The total amount of kitchen waste has gone up 1.71% since the implementation of the debit card system.  With our audit completed, our group will be able to determine if there has been a greater reduction in the amount of waste produced since the winter of 1994.  The final results will determine if the debit card system is efficient and reducing the total amount of waste produced.
     The previous study will give us insight to what our goals will be, it will also help us in defining some of the lurking variables which may skew our end results.  Equations to determine the number of meals served have already been determined and it will just be a process of plugging in the proper data to obtain our results.
     Shahnaz's recommendations included the use of disposables should be eliminated or sustainably reduced at all food services outlets.  She suggested composting of any organics, along with food shipped to be used for cattle feed.  A final recommendation is to educate students and kitchen staff of the importance of sustainable waste practices, which will have an effect on the way the system is run.

An Improved Recycling System for Residence - Mark Pletsch, Fall 1994.

Summary :

     The report analyzed was completed by Mark Pletsch in the summer of 1994 for ERS 490 A&B.  The purpose of this study was to "test an alternative recycling system in the village residences at the University of Waterloo, and to determine the success of the new system".  The identified purpose of the project was to reduce waste, create a more efficient waste disposal system and evaluate the final results.  Pletsch studied the inefficiency of the recycling program in both villages.  He found that recycling containers were only accessible in central areas.  Consequently, recyclables would end up in the garbage because would not take the time to walk to those containers.  He also identified the top 8 waste categories at the time.  Pletsch found that a lot of organics, box board, food packaging and wax paper in the garbage.  He believed that a reduction in the waste produced may be achieved through the elimination of packaging, provided with each meal.  Students may then have an incentive to use their own reusable containers.  The project done by Pletsch made our group realize that convenience is a necessity.  In order for any scale project to be accomplished successfully, the tasks must be manageable, require low maintenance and are easy to follow.

Identification of Target Areas for Waste Reduction at the Village Two Kitchen and Cafeteria - Betty Riggler, 1992.

Summary :

     The purpose of the study was to identify target areas for waste reduction at the Ron Eydt Village (Village 2) kitchen and cafeteria. This was achieved by conducting a waste study to determine the type of waste produced in the kitchen and cafeteria. Betty Riggler investigated feasible options in reducing the amount of waste entering the system. Implementation methods were investigated in programs in the areas of food distribution and consumer packaging. The analysis included costs and benefits.  Recommendations were made, including; mess kits for beverage dispensers, use of bulk food, and a follow up study. This project enables us to see what recommendations have been previously made to Food Services, and to see which, if any have been implemented. We will be able to investigate why the recommendations were not implemented. Thus preventing us from making similar recommendations that are not feasible.

These studies will assist us by giving us background information on how to conduct a waste audit.  They will provide us direction in determining what areas and factors have changed since the previous audits took place.  Our results will then be compared to the study done on Village One by Shahnaz Zaheer. Our goal is the reform of the food waste system at the Ron Eydt Village in order to promote sustainability. 



     Our project involves the food flow in the Ron Eydt cafeteria. The system boundaries begin when the food enters the campus and is restricted to the solid waste collected by outside contractors (Capitol and Laidlaw).  The food is delivered by various food distributors to the different food preparation areas.  The meat is delivered every other day to the Ron Eydt kitchen, the pastry is delivered each day to the baker and the vegetables are delivered every day to the kitchen in the village.
   Our system begins with all the food being delivered to the kitchen, the food is prepared and given to the servery and waste scrapes such as meat trimmings, egg shells, left over gravy, and soup get disposed of in the waste bin.  The waste from the servery such as coffee grinds, milk bags and bread wrappers are disposed of in that locations garbage.  Potatoes arrive already peeled, lettuce arrives shredded, and cauliflower and broccoli arrives cut. There is little food reused from one day to  the next since it is available at a lower price later in the day to use it up.  The only food to be reused is usually vegetables for vegetarian entrees. When the food is fully prepared, it is taken to the servery for purchase by the student to be consumed only in the cafeteria. After consumption, waste is disposed of in the garbage bins in the scrape room.  Dishes are placed in the pot room where additional food scrapings are removed and placed in the garbage bins and the dishes are washed.  No food is allowed to be removed from the cafeteria, except for pre-packaged sandwiches, salads and desserts.  The reason that food is not allowed out of the cafeteria is to reduce the amount of waste from disposables.
     The waste receptacles are then unloaded into larger bins outside of the Ron Eydt Village. The cans, bottles and other recyclables are taken to the recycling facility at the Erb St. Landfill and the waste bin is also taken there for final disposal. Waste is collected by Capital Inc. and cardboard is collected by Laidlaw.



The core actors of the system are:

The supporting actors are: There are also the shadow actors.  These are actors who do not become directly involved, but the consequences of all actors will eventually effect them.
Supporting and shadow actors  need to play a stronger role with regards to waste generation on campus and especially the Villages. CONTEXT

The context of our system study is limited to the University of Waterloo campus. The outermost boundaries are limited to the direct distributors delivering food to the village. This system includes:

The context in which you look at the system changes the answer to the question. You may look at a system in a narrow or broad context which will completely change the outlook of the system. The system in the context of the Region of Waterloo includes: When you look at the system in a larger context you get a different picture. If one looks at the system in a worldwide context you not only get the items above but also: This context helps us to understand the situation by providing us with the larger picture of the food system.  This allows us to see where the food is originating from and tells us who is involved in the whole scope of our system.


The Subsidiary Question Diagram looks at further information asked beyond the main diagram to solve the Research Question.


      The goal of our group is to perform a waste audit and evaluate the data in a comparative manner using previous waste audits. The data will be collected in a qualitative and quantitative manner. To obtain the quantitative data, weights of the garbage produced for each meal per day over a three week period will be examined. During the three week study period a random sample will be done to ensure quality control of the garbage weights as well as to compare the weight of the food waste to weights produced from  packaging. The food will be weighed according to these criteria; food waste is anything that can be consumed, packaging is anything that contains or contained food. This will be the qualitative data, along with the answers to the research questions. The above chart displays the appropriate questions we asked of various contacts to ensure the interpretation and collection of data runs smoothly.
      The kitchen staff will assist in the measurement of weight from bags of waste.  Heidi Bishop has offered to do the calculations pertaining to the food waste and recording the number of meals per day. A meal is consituted by a breakfast, lunch, or dinner special. The staff will seperate the garbage and weigh it according to the following criteria; the student waste is that of the scrape room and the pot room and the staff waste is that of the kitchen and the servery. We have understood a certain risk in having kitchen staff do weighing instead of the group, however Heidi Bishop has assured us that she will take care of it properly, and as mentioned before we will be doing a random quality control check. Finally, the use of Patti Cook as a resource has helped us to obtain proper measuring equipment and act as a contact for evaluating the data collected.
     The use of Shahnaz's report was included to provide a report to work as a base study, in which we can later compare results. We will compare the final results of our project to that of Shahnaz's. The fundamental data that we will be comparing is the amount of food waste (including packaging) produced per meal served. Our study will examine the differences between her study which looked at open system in the cafeteria, in that the students were allowed to take food out of the cafeteria. This would result in food waste being produced externally of the cafeteria and would not ensure a complete analysis of the food waste system. Our system is closed, except for the sandwiches, salads, and desserts, which are allowed out of the cafeteria since they are individually wrapped. In addition to this major change, the students are also able to eat at an increased amount of  food outlets off-campus. These will be the principle differences in our study to Shahnaz's and will be the major area in which we are making the comparison.
     As stated earlier, we will be following the vision of sustainability as defined by the Brundtland Commission. Our criteria for sustainability will be to reduce the amount of materials being used, and therefore the amount of waste produced at the Ron Eydt Village to an amount that is within the Universities' capacity to handle. This will be sustainable since we will not be using more materials, or generating more waste, than is necessary. Through studying the results of the excess food waste, we can understand what recommendations can be made to reduce the waste output and further sustainability on campus.


    In order to determine whether or not there has been a reduction in the amount of food waste per meal served in the villages we will conduct a waste audit.  The waste will be weighed in a back room.  The waste will be seperated into two categories: staff waste, which comes from the kitchen and the servery, and the student waste which comes from the scrape room and the pot room. We will also keep a tally of the number of meals served per day, and this will be collected through the tally slips produced already in the cafeteria for the administration.  The tally will be done by Heidi Bishop and the waste will be weighed by her staff on a twenty-five kilogram fish scale.  The data will be recorded on a tally sheet that we have created for them to record the weights three times per day, at breakfast (10 a.m.), lunch (2 p.m.), and dinner (7 p.m.). We chose these three times of the day since this is when the waste is disposed of by the kitchen staff.. The waste weight calculations will be obtained with respect to the relative varying student population fluctuation in the cafeteria.  The total number of registered students with meal plans at the Ron Eydt Village is 736.  The waste will be weighed for a three week period beginning on  Monday, March 2, 1998.  The three week study period was chosen because the food selections are cycled on a three week basis, except for breakfast which has no obvious pattern. In addition, this time frame was chosen to provide an average over using a single week in case of an unexpected occurrence on a particular day, such as a student meeting or conference.
     We will also conduct an audit of the quality of the waste. In order to determine this we will seperate the staff waste and the student waste into food waste and packaging. Each bag of garbage will be opened and the packaging will be seperated from the food waste. Food waste will be anything that can be eaten, while packaging will be anything which was or is used to contain food.  Since much of the food waste is still in the container when it is disposed of, we will shake the container to remove the food waste. If the food waste does not come free after shaking, it is measured as part of the packaging. The waste will be seperated by two group members on each occasion. Once the food waste and the packaging have been seperated, the food waste for the staff will be weighed and recorded and the packaging for the staff will be weighed and recorded. Then, the food waste for the students will be weighed and recorded and the packaging for the students will be weighed and recorded. After the three week sample period, the data will be analyzed and evaluated in order to provide recommendations for a more sustainable food waste system at the Ron Eydt Village.
     To determine when the food waste/packaging audit will occur we have conducted a  random sample, using the military standards method as explained by Eric Tucs, the statistical reference person. This method involves using the square root of the number of sample point, which in our study will be 21 days for each breakfast, lunch and dinner over the three week period. Again, the three times of the day were chosen to coordinate with the times at which the waste is weighed and disposed of by the kitchen staff.  From this we have chosen five random days for each of the three categories, which was obtained by rounding the square root of 21 up from 4.58 to five days. We then went to the Table of Random Digits in the David S. Moore book The Basic Practice of Statitics  and came up with the random sample days. We will also do a quality control test on these days to ensure that the waste is being collected and measured accurately by the kitchen staff. The random sample days for the food waste/packaging audit are as follows:

    BREAKFAST (10 a.m.)

    LUNCH (2 p.m.)     DINNER (7 p.m.)      At the end of the study period we will collect the data from Heidi Bishop and evaluate it. The weight of the garbage, as well as the number of meals served per day will be used to calculate an average of the food waste produced per meal served. The data will be analyzed, evaluated and compared to the results of the 1994 Village 1 audit  by Shahnaz Zaheer. In addition we will assess the quality of the waste by evaluating the data from our food waste/packaging audit. Pending the results, we will devise some recommendations or an action plan to help reduce waste at the student villages in order to promote a sustainable campus.

Food Services - Heidi Bishop ext. 3125 (Ron Eydt Food Services Manager)
    - She is our key contact in the Servery area.  She provided us with background information, and will be performing the calculations for our waste audit.

Housekeeping - Peter Jordan ext. 5178
    - He is in charge of garbage control and is our contact on the garbage flow.

Teaching Assistant - Eric Tucs
    - He is our statistical advisor for the random sampling done in this project.

Waste Management Co-ordinator - Patricia Cook ext. 3245
    - She is our key contact for our waste audit.  She is providing us with the tools and background information on how to perform a waste audit.


    In conclusion, we will we conduct a food waste audit of the Ron Eydt Village to measure the excess food waste being produced. We will then compare these results to the food waste audit completed by Shahnaz Zaheer in 1994. We are completing this study in order to provide Watgreen with information so that they can make the campus more sustainable if there is room for improvement in the Ron Eydt Village.

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Last Updated February 27, 1998.