Sustainability

Love Food Not Waste Challenge

In a zero waste dining hall, the only thing left over is compostable food waste and napkins. To be as sustainable and efficient as possible, we want to reduce this waste too! Although it doesn’t go into landfills, there are significant resources invested into every pound of food – from the water and fertilizers used to grow it, to transportation and the labour that goes into preparing it. The Love Food, Not Waste challenge aimed to help students keep good food out of the compost bin by encouraging them to pledge to take less food, go back for seconds and sample new items, all strategies guaranteed to help students take only what and as much as they really want. Student volunteers also encouraged their peers to do their part during by celebrating those with clean plates and finding out why food was going into the compost, feedback that was shared with Food Services for improvement. To officially track our efforts, we weighed all the compost from the dining hall for a week before launching the challenge, then reweighed the week of the challenge. The result? Students saved 512 lbs of food waste!

Paying it foward with UnitedWay

Not only was good food saved from the compost bin, but Food Services also payed it forward by donating $1 for each pound saved to buy meals for students in need here at uOttawa. A total of 52 meal vouchers were given to the uOttawa United Way for students in need of financial aid.

Less is more. We’re going trayless!

Out with the old ways and in with the new! We’re making bigger and better efforts with our new dining hall this year to help create a more sustainable campus by reducing the amount of waste, specifically food waste. With these efforts, comes change. One of the changes the University of Ottawa has implemented is trayless dining, which means we’re eliminating food trays in the dining hall. Trayless dining will help us minimize food waste while also creating an “at home” dining experience where you can enjoy freshly made food and still take time to socialize with friends.

After implemented trayless dining, San Francisco State University saw food waste reduced by about 60%, which translated into approximately 2,200 fewer pounds of food wasted each week compared with the previous term. At Harvard University, a waste audit conducted in Harvard’s dining hall after a single dinner showed that 400 diners left behind a total of 45 pounds of food waste! Going trayless reduced Dalhousie University, going trayless reduced Dalhousie University food provider’s water consumption by close to 4,000 litres a day and saved approximately $13,000 in electricity costs over the year. In many all-you-care-to-eat dining halls across North America, eliminating trays has also led to less over-consumption, less waste and increased energy savings.

At the University of Ottawa, Food Services strives to reduce the impact of food waste on the environment. By eliminating trays, we not only contribute to reduced food waste but also encourage students to take the time to savour each bite, which can also help them develop healthier eating habits. Over time, trayless dining will also reduce the use of water, electricity and dish soap, helping to contribute to an overall more eco-friendly environment. 

Trayless dining has become a trend across North America as many eating establishments move away from the typical cafeteria-style trays and conveyer belt atmosphere. This movement has helped create a refreshing dining experience for students.

University of Ottawa’s Food Services is proud to be able to contribute to building a more sustainable campus by adopting this dining model. We hope you appreciate your new trayless dining experience at uOttawa! 

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