Waste Audits

In 1991, students audited the waste generated in the Village 2 (student residence) cafeteria. They discovered that the kitchens are run quite efficiently. Food that is left over (but which has never been served) is used in the preparation of later meals. Through statistical analysis of the number of students at any given sitting of meals, staff are able to predict quite accurately the amount of food to prepare. This means that there is little waste in the kitchen component of the cafeteria.

However the generation of waste in the servery was quite high. The average overall waste generated per day was 0.4 kg. In a fall academic term the servery generated 2% of the total waste disposed of on the UW campus. The cost of disposal was $1800. This study found that 72% of the servery waste is compostable.

One student examined and recommended alternative ways of packaging and dispensing food in the cafeteria. In the Fall of 93 the cafeterias switched from an "all you can eat" system to a "pay as you eat system" (Debit Card system). A study of Village I involved an audit under the old system in summer 93 and the new system in winter 94 using the same methodology. This audit revealed that students were throwing out 70% less food from their plates per meal served with the new system. The food waste produced in the kitchen increased by 14% while overall the waste production decreased by 40% on a per meal served basis. A similar study was undertaken for Village II and revealed a 55% reduction in waste generated per meal served.

Fifty students in another course assisted in the university waste audit. The waste from seven representative buildings was collected and separated into 33 categories of waste.
This audit is the initial assessment of the university's waste, and resulted in annual audits performed in functional areas of the campus.

Projects are available either on the world wide web or in the Dana Porter (Arts) Library, Special Collections.

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Last updated: August 16, 2004 plc