Arizona State University has adopted a program to help reduce campus food waste, State Press Magazine reported. The efforts are a part of the school’s overarching the goal of becoming a zero-waste university by 2015.
In 2012 the school sent 6,778 pounds of waste to the landfill. A quarter of that was compostable food and food service products, the State Press reported.
In an effort to reach its zero-waste goal, the school follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s food recovery hierarchy, where the first guideline is to reduce the amount of discarded food through more effective portioning.
The school is focusing on training its staff to use only as much food as needed. Krista Hicks, Aramark’s sustainability manager for their ASU contract, referred to the practice as “extreme portioning.”
In addition, the school has implemented the use of “green captains” who look out for substantial amounts of waste. “If they see a substantial amount of waste at any location, they’ll come up with products and ideas of how to negate that waste,” Hicks said to the State Press.
In addition to reducing consumption, the food recovery hierarchy recommends making sure that others without steady access to food in the community receive the perishable excess portions, according to State Press. The dining halls have partnered with a local nonprofit called Waste Not Arizona, which facilitates the distribution of around 6,000 pounds of excess food daily from local restaurants, grocers and other food businesses to those in need.
The school has also implemented a composting program in hopes that it will continue to decrease food waste sent to the landfill.