UNT to launch food waste recovery program

UNT to launch food waste recovery program

UNT to launch food waste recovery program
August 01
15:32 2013

Kelcey Blanks / Contributing Writer

Forty percent of food served in U.S. cafeterias and restaurants is thrown away each year, according to the Environmental Protection Administration, and UNT wants to help drastically reduce that number.

Beginning in the fall, UNT Dining Services is launching a food waste program to educate students on their habits of tossing out food and how it affects our environment and could be used to feed people who lack wholesome meals.

Dining services has teamed up with the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, a program designated to raise awareness of the issues created by food waste.

There are many resources needed to grow food, including water, fertilizers, pesticides and energy. By wasting food, people are also wasting the resources that went into growing it. Additionally, 13 percent of greenhouse gases in the U.S. are associated with growing, manufacturing, transporting and disposing of food, according to the EPA.

“Students need to understand that small actions have big repercussions,” said Camille Vaughn, special assistant for sustainability and supervisor of the Eco Reps.

If students can associate wasted food with taking it away from someone else who needs it, it might reduce the issue, she said.

Thirty six million tons of food waste was accumulated this year in the U.S. alone, according to the EPA.

Students who throw away food that they are unable to consume contribute to the largest area of food waste on the UNT campus, said Ken Botts, special projects manager of the UNT Food Department

Botts said that the food department is trying to do a better job of communicating the issue of food waste on the UNT campus.

The department will measure and track the weight of the food waste in special trashcans outside of each hall to create a benchmark and then show any reductions, Botts said.

Messaging boards will be placed in dining halls to emphasize how well – or not – the residents are doing.

The Eco Reps is a student group that teaches students how to adjust lifestyles to be more sustainable. They are represented in every dorm on campus.

This fall members will set up tables in all resident dining hall cafeterias and encourage students to sign pledges to actively think of how much food they put on their plates.

Journalism junior Zachery Wilson said that he often throws away uneaten food. “I really don’t ever think about it,” he said

As part of the initiative, UNT will also host Food Day on Oct. 24, which will drive home the importance of buying food grown locally to save on transportation fuel as well as not wasting.

The event will include a showing of “Food Matters,” a movie made by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. It examines how food individuals eat can help or hurt our health. The event will also feature guest speakers and a farmer’s market.

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