In Spring 2022, Campus Recycling’s Outreach Team received funding from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for ‘No Food Left Behind’, a food waste reduction study.
Campus Recycling conducted the study with the help of Eco-Reps – student staff who encourage a culture of sustainability in the residence halls in which they live, with programming from Materials Management and the Sustainability Office. Over this four-week study, fifty on-campus residents across 13 residence halls tracked and weighed all their edible food waste outside dining halls (leftovers, food prepared in dorms, etc.). This study’s data has since been processed and is now available upon request.
Some notable conclusions include:
- On-Campus Residents waste an average of 1.3 lbs of edible food outside of dining halls each week.
- On average, participants in the study reduced their waste by 51% over 4 weeks. This is likely due to greater mindfulness surrounding wasted food as the result of regularly tracking edible food waste (reporting all edible food waste in a food log and saving edible food scraps wasted in their dorm to be weighed).
- One behavioral intervention introduced to 30% of participants (15 on-campus residents) involved taking a food waste reduction pledge that was displayed with their pictures in residence hall lounges. The pledge group had an average decrease in edible food waste by 65% over four weeks.
What’s next? Campus Recycling’s Outreach Team, Eco-Reps, and student clubs like ‘Waste Watchers’ will be implementing the use of pledges at tabling events on campus. This effort will most likely be paired with food waste education and even the upcoming relaunch of EcoToGo! To view the full ‘No Food Left Behind’ report, ask questions, or discuss a potential collaboration, please contact Kaylee Smith with Materials Management.