October 16, 2008

Trayless Days

As part of UW-Eau Claire’s Sustainable Week, Blugold Dining will go trayless from Tuesday, October 21 through Thursday, October 23. By not using trays we lessen the environmental impact we generate here on campus. A significant amount of water and electricity is saved, food waste is diverted from landfills and above all, we make a small dent in reducing carbon emissions.


Anonymous said...

Trayless Tuesday is a very flawed idea. Although in concept it raises awareness and saves water the disadvantages are far more.

The water saved by not using trays for a day is probably negated by the fact that our university dumps gallons of water onto the grass of the dorms and sidewalks in an effort to keep the lawns "greener."

All not having a tray has done is caused me to drop food on the ground. The energy required to process and transport twice the food because I drop it probably negates my not using a tray.

After my meal when I bring my dirty dishes to the rack at the end I have to place my dirty plates on a tray for the conveyor. This negates not having the convenience of a tray.

The fact that we must now pay for the convenience of a fork with a slice of pizza is rediculous. If you want to make people pay for compostable forks fine, but also leave the option open for free non compostable forks. Forcing people to pay to be environmental is only going to cause resentment towards what the university is trying to accomplish. The approach must be one that encourages environmentalism, not forces it. This is what will cause them to follow through with the behavior on their own.

How about we take a different approach to protecting the environment such as pressuring Sodexho to get its beef and grain from closer sources to reduce transport costs? Or at least get the university to stop watering the lawn so much.

I for one will be avoiding the caf on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

If the university dining service is saving money by not using trays 1 day per week, then why did the cost of 3,000 meals plans increase by $100 this year? The money saved by water and the increase of revenue makes up WAY more than the price of the "eco-friendly" utensils, which students are paying for anyway. I don't think it's fair if this saved money is not going back into our pockets or into the pockets of the diligent servers and cooks in the cafeteria.

christian wise, GM - Blugold DIning said...

I hoping to address both anonymous posts, but if I haven't please come by my office at 227 Davies, I would be glad to speak with you further.

I apprecaite you both writing.

While we have just started Trayless Tuesdays this semester and haven't felt the complete savings, we have been tracking both food and liquid waste. Food waste is down about 45% on Tuesdays and liquid waste is down about 33% on Tuesdays as compared with same meal period on Wednesdays.

While I cannot speak for other departments on campus, Dining Services is attempting to do what it can to be more sustainable.

In the past 12 months, food prices have risen an average of 6% and labor costs have risen 4.2% according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Our prices have risen less than the actual CPI. We are trying our best to keep prices as low as possible.

Additional monies are going back to our workers both in the form of salary and benefits.

Finally, if you buy a piece of pizza from us you are entitled to a set of plastic ware. If you are having a problem with this not happening, please contact me and I will ensure that our policies are followed.

Thanks for writing.

Random Blugold said...

I agree with Anonymous. The so-called "savings" would never be passed on to make meals less expensive, or to lower costs of other things. Trayless days are simply another way for the school to cut costs in an area where there will be little 'real' consequences.

The fact is, the way the dining areas are set up at this time practically require trays. There is simply no way to carry the food, drinks, etc. to the counter and then be able to produce your Blugold card.

It seems clear that the school has had their eyes on this cost-saving measure for some time, and they seemingly will not be denied. But in the end it's a business; if there are no trays on those days, we should boycott those days, and thus the savings are indeed negated by lost revenue.

Do you think a restaurant would ditch its trays in order to save a few pennies per gallon?

Terrible decision by those who made it.