PSU Makes Progress in Reducing Waste and Increasing Sustainability

March 13th, 2014 by blyndes

 

A PSU student disposes of unused food in a bucket as part of the institution's "Weight the Waste" waste reduction program.

Plymouth, N.H. – It is estimated that 40 percent of food in America goes uneaten, which is roughly 20 pounds of waste per person every month– the weight of a car tire. It’s a problem and students at Plymouth State University are doing something about it. The student organization Common Ground and the University’s Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) joined forces for a “Weigh the Waste” event in Prospect Dining Hall, hosted by Sodexo. “Weigh the Waste” consists of student volunteers collecting food waste in five gallon buckets at the dining hall and weighing them. OES volunteer Brittany Angelo said students are often surprised at the amount of food they throw out. 

“Students are definitely noticing their waste more, and they say, ‘oh, I’m so sorry, I took too much’,” Angelo said. “I’m hoping that a lot of people realize how much waste they’re producing and they’ll reduce the amount of food they take.” 

In last year’s “Weight the Waste” event, 459 pounds of food waste was produced by 2,515 people in only 12 hours. This factored out to nearly three ounces of food per person, every day. That means over an entire school year, students were wasting over 40 tons of food. PSU’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, Brian Eisenhauer, believes “Weigh the Waste” is already making a difference. 

“We have seen increased student awareness about the issue evidenced in their familiarity with us,” Eisenhauer said. “We have experienced a slight decrease in the waste totals every time we have done this, a trend we hope continues. Our goal is to cut our food waste in half, a difficult target but an ambitious one. This is an example of how each of us can make small steps that can add up to big differences.” 

In addition to its “Weigh the Waste,” program, Plymouth State is consistently recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability and is regularly included in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, a compilation of the most environmentally responsible higher education institutions in the United States. The University also participates in a national recycling competition and organizes an annual electricity reduction competition between residence halls.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

 

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