Time to Start Taking About Food Waste on Campus

Food waste at uOttawa

I am going to talk today about something that happen on the university campus that really frustrate me every time I see it and which is the food waste at the caff by the students.

Last year, university of Ottawa renovated the caf and it became open buffet dining hall. All the students were really happy when they found out, but there is something that a lot of people don’t realize and it is the amount of food waste that is coming out of the dining hall!

Student are either part of the meal plan or they pay at the door to get in. They get access to an open buffet and they typically put so much food in their plates that most of it ends up in the compost. People are over-consuming, and over-consuming leads to an unsustainable environment.

This issue makes me sad and mad at the same time for so many reasons. One of those reasons is that in my religion, and I think in many other religions as well, wasting food is something we are simply not allowed to do.

Another reason is that there are a lot of poor countries out there that only dream to having half of the food that we throw away. So many children in Africa die every single year because they don’t have enough nutrients and enough food to eat.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in fouris undernourished. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under 5 years of age - 3.1 million children each year. ~United Nations World Food Program
I don't know about you, but to me, that is a very scary number.

In my opinion, we should not be allowed to waste that much food. Frankly, something should be done to help stop food waste on our campus.

First of all there should be programs or people out there to help inform/teach students about sustainability. We can put up signs in the dining hall that shows how many people are suffering every year from hunger; hopefully that will help students realize how wrong it is to throw out food and maybe they will start taking smaller amounts of food and thus stop throwing it out.

Another thing that could be done is to make a new rule in the dining hall which would make people pay money if they throw out food or if they don’t finish the food in their plates. This is a popular tactic used in many restaurants. The amount of money they have to pay will depend on the amount of food they are throwing or wasting. This way people would be encouraged to take smaller serving sizes and more reasonable portions.

In the end, all I want to say is that we should all help each other, we should all think about each other, and by doing all that, it will lead us to a better and more sustainable environment.
Let's make this year the year we deal with food waste!

~ salem abdallah, guest blogger


Jason Garlough said...

Hi Salem, great post.

I believe that uOttawa Professor C. Scott Findlay had a class who did a Waste Survey for a food court in Ottawa's downtown EcoDistrict. Their findings were interesting and may be worth looking into. My understanding is that when observed from afar food court customers wasted a lot more than on days when the customers were told that students are there today observing how much waste is thrown out and if recycled goods are sorted properly by the customers.

Jason - oetn.ca