Sustainability


Trayless Dining Initiative SNU Dining is committed to helping people make sustainable choices about their health, our communities, and the planet we must collaborate to protect. In spring of 2010, SNU Dining implemented the trayless initiative on campus.

Trayless dining is one significant initiative that helps to minimize waste as well as water and energy usage while creating a more sustainable food service operation. There are many benefits to going trayless in our dining operations, including:

Electricity, water and chemical usage are reduced because there are far fewer dishes and trays to wash. This effect alone can save thousands of gallons of water every day and generate hundreds of dollars in detergent and electricity savings.

Less detergents, solid waste and grease down the drain also improves our local community’s water supply. Food materials discharged to local waste water treatment plants contribute to increased levels of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), TSS (total suspended solids), and O/G (oil and grease). Also, food materials discarded into the solid waste stream contribute to odor and methane generation at disposal facilities and to increased BOD and COD levels in local landfills.

Trayless dining substantially diminishes food waste by encouraging guests to take only the amount of food they can carry.

Trayless service also provides an overall positive impact on student health. It discourages overeating and requires guests to get up and walk to get more food.

This service style also cuts back on dining overhead cost because there is no purchase or ongoing replacement cost for trays. Trayless dining has been implemented with much success on several campuses across the country, including Oklahoma City University, Georgia Tech, Prairie View A&M, Valdosta State, South Carolina State University, Rowan University and UMass Dartmouth. This practice will clearly facilitate more sustainable operations that help to protect our valuable natural resources for the future.

Trayless Dining FAQ & Sodexho Sustainability Efforts
Frequently Asked Questions about Trayless Dining

Question: How is going trayless really going to affect SNU?

Answer:
1. Significantly reduced food waste. Studies have found that food waste is reduced by 40% when we go trayless. During two hours of lunch time when there are trays available enough food is wasted to feed approximately 60 people.
2. Saves energy to heat water and reduces our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels.
3. Fewer detergents, solid waste and grease down the drain also improves our local community’s water supply.
4. Reduces the amount of time the dishwasher is running, reducing water usage.
5. Helps guests in SNU Dining manage portion sizes. This will lead to a positive impact on health.
6. Food will be at the appropriate temperature when guests eat because of less time spent in the servery filling up a tray.
7. There will be less congestion in the servery due to guests filling up a plate rather than a tray.
8. Encourages students and other campus community members to actively participate in a “green” initiative that has both a personal and community impact.
9. Helps educate students and other campus community members on the positive environmental effects that a small change can make.
10. Guests in SNU Dining Hall will have a better visual experience without the trays. The atmosphere will change from institution to more homey.

Question: Doesn’t the dishwasher in SNU Dining Hall run constantly?

Answer: The dish machine is a closed system. The tanks are filled in the morning and water is changed throughout the day to ensure proper cleaning. The more wares that are washed, the more frequently the water needs to be drained and the tanks sprayed out and refilled. More draining, spraying, and refilling results in increased water usage.

The dish machine runs constantly during the time it is needed. Reducing the quantity of wares that need to be washed reduces the overall running time per day. Reduced running time results in reduced electrical and chemical usage.

Question: Aren’t there going to be more people dropping and breaking plates since they don’t have a tray?

Answer: This actually has been something of a concern at those universities that have gone trayless, but all report the problem is minimal, especially as students become more adept at carrying tableware without a tray. Most report nominal increases in breakage that are more than offset by savings in food waste.

Question: Is this going to stop me from taking as much as I want?

Answer: Guests are welcome to eat as much as they care to eat. Removing trays encourages guests to only take as much as they are going to eat. Guests can always go back for seconds or even thirds.

Question: Is SNU the only campus trying trayless?

Answer: No. In fact colleges and universities across the country have gone completely trayless. Some of those schools include: Oklahoma City University, University of Minnesota, NDSU, Berkeley, NYU, University of Illinois, and many more.

Question: Are trays available if I want one?

Answer: Trays will not be available to guests unless they have received an official exemption, which must be approved by the exemption committee. In order to receive an exemption the person must apply and prove one of the following:
1) A temporary or permanent disability or injury that significantly impairs a person’s ability to transport food without the use of a tray.

2) A documented requirement or need to consume an unusually large quantity of food (such as for certain athletes) combined with an unusually short amount of time for the meal (due to class schedule, etc.). In these cases, exemptions will be granted on a semester-by-semester basis.

3) Other reasonable, demonstrable, and unusual conditions as approved by the committee.
An exemption will only be granted in rare circumstances and guests should not apply for one without a very compelling reason.

Sodexho Sustainability Efforts 

On campuses around the country, Sodexo is committed to developing and measuring ways to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, promote responsible waste management and reduce the use of toxic chemicals. Our efforts will advance new models of sustainable community development through local sourcing, use of seasonal products and sustainably grown food.

It starts with what we do with each of our clients It extends to how we serve our customers It continues through how we act as a company Sodexo Education makes a difference on campuses by partnering with our clients to set strategic targets and measure results in three key areas:

Food Sourcing – We support local businesses and communities by purchasing from local producers and growers.Sodexo buys 100 percent of our fresh dairy products from local and regional farmers.
For the future, we have committed to serve only farm and ranch products that are sustainably grown by local producers and minority and women owned businesses.

Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction – Food production accounts for about one-third of the water use and 10 percent of the energy use in the U.S.We are testing products and systems at 12 campuses to tell us about state-of-the-art equipment and procedures that will help us reduce resource consumption.
As an example of what’s possible, we partnered with students at Ithaca College to do a water, energy and equipment audit.Through this process, we learned many things, including the fact that dining halls require five times more energy than lecture halls or offices.We identified short and long range ways to curb energy use that include installing energy-efficient exhaust fans, making employees more aware of energy use and adding light sensors. The changes we implement will cut Ithaca’s energy bill by nearly $140,000 per year through low-cost or no-cost projects.

Waste Minimization – Food service waste is the single largest contributor to our landfill system.That means we have tremendous opportunity and responsibility to make positive change. Our programs engage students like no one else in our industry.

For instance, at St. Leo University in Florida, we conduct a “Weigh the Waste” campaign.Each day, students’ dining hall waste is weighed and tracked.At the beginning of the school year, the average day has about 800 pounds of waste.Once the students start to see the results of their daily efforts, their total waste drops to about 200 pounds a day and stays there for the rest of the school year. In addition, 40 percent of our campuses have trayless dining and, as a result, experience a 30 percent drop in food, water, energy and chemical waste.Our new reusable take out container program, “Choose to Reuse,” could reduce disposable waste on a campus by as much as 80 percent.

Sodexo is the premier campus services partner because we focus on creating exceptional student experiences. We deliver on that promise through five key areas, including culinary innovation, student insights, health and wellness, customer service and sustainability programs. By protecting and improving our environment, the communities where we do business and the students we serve, Sodexo makes every day a better day and every tomorrow a better tomorrow.