BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Starting this week, students in three dining
centers on the University at Buffalo North (Amherst) Campus will be
carrying individual plates -- not trays -- to their tables as part
of UB's effort to go "trayless."
Red Jacket, Governors and Richmond Dining Centers this week are
joining Goodyear Dining Center on the South (Main Street) Campus in
the initiative designed to substantially cut food waste.
"We anticipate saving nearly 48,000 pounds of food waste this
semester by going trayless in the three dining centers," said Jeff
Brady, interim executive director for UB Campus Dining &
Campus Dining & Shops piloted the trayless effort in
Goodyear Dining Center in the beginning of the 2008 fall semester
with very positive results.
The trayless dining format, which has been growing in popularity
on campuses across the country, can help reduce food waste and
consumption of water and energy, Brady said. He noted that many
schools credit the energy and water savings to the fact that
without trays, students have to think more carefully before
selecting their meals. This results in less food waste, as students
are less likely to take foods they will not end up eating.
As a result of the reduced food waste, less water and energy and
fewer chemicals are spent cleaning trays and plates and processing
uneaten food. Over the course of a year, these savings can help a
school significantly reduce its impact on the environment, Brady
In a recent study conducted in UB's Red Jacket Dining Center, an
overwhelming number of students -- approximately 83 percent -- were
in support of going to trayless dining beginning in January.
The same study at Richmond and Governors produced similar
"During two separate 'Weigh the Waste' events conducted at
Goodyear and Red Jacket Dining Centers in the fall, we saw
approximately 50 percent less food waste in Goodyear where they
were not using trays," said Brady.
"Through initiatives such as recycling, organic composting,
biodegradable packaging, energy management and sustainable food
programs, we are working to instill sustainability principles here
at UB and within the Western New York community," said Brady. "Our
students understand the importance of energy and resource
conservation. This step, while simple, will have a significant
positive impact on the campus."
Campus Dining & Shops staffers report that students have
been positive about going trayless for another reason.
"Many students commented on how it felt more comfortable, like
eating at home and they are concerned about the environment," said
Rob Lewin, manager of Goodyear Dining Center's Main Street
The trayless initiative is just one of many actions being taken
on campus to achieve "climate neutrality," called for by the
American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment,
which President John B. Simpson signed in March 2007.
This semester, UB's Campus Dining & Shops also introduces a
new nutrition program, "Take A Fresh Look." Information about
portion sizes and nutritional content is placed on grab-and-go food
containers to help customers make informed choices about what
"The new program provides diners with an increased awareness of
their overall food consumption," Brady said.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.