Framingham State University is being recognized by the EPA for its efforts to reduce the amount of food that leaves the campus and is deposited into landfills or incinerators.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently announced Framingham State is among 26 organizations in New England issued “Food Recovery Challenge Regional Achievement Certificates” for efforts to reduce food waste.
“Food waste is such a big issue at colleges and universities but also as a nation and as a whole planet,” said Framingham State’s Food Services Director Ralph Eddy.
For several years, he said, Framingham State officials have made strides in reducing the amount of waste that is deposited into landfills or incinerators.
Officials use source reduction, campus awareness efforts, a food donation program, food waste software and dehydrators to reduce food waste or divert it from landfills.
“The primary goal is source reduction,” Eddy said, which is “not having waste in the first place.”
In 2008, after Framingham State developed its first campus climate action plan, dining services switched to trayless dining, which Eddy said helps prevent diners from taking more than they can eat.
Dining services workers also carefully plan menus appealing to consumers and prepare only what is needed.
Another component for reducing waste, Eddy said, is creating awareness around the issue of food waste on campus.
“It’s really up to the consumer to take only what they can eat,” he said.
In recent years, Framingham State held a “weigh the waste” day so diners could visualize the amount of food wasted in a day on campus.
Most diners, Eddy said, may only waste an item or two during each meal, but once they place it on the conveyor belt in the dining hall “it goes behind the wall and (they) never see it again.”
He added, “to some it was a very disturbing visual but very eye opening.”
For five years, dining services employees have been using service called LeanPath, which allows employees to weigh waste on a scale, and indicate data about it including what type of food it is, why it was wasted and whether it will be donated or composted.
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