questions for … Beth Valle
Dining Services aims to reduce waste,
Photo courtesy of Chartwells
By Jan Lucas
TU's campus eateries are keeping thousands of students well nourished while addressing a variety of environmental concerns. Valle, marketing director for Chartwells, explains how Dining Services is "going green."
What is Project Clean Plate?
It’s a go-green initiative Chartwells implemented in full this term. We set up a table in a dining hall with signs asking students to allow us to weigh the food they're discarding at the end of a meal. Then we average the per-person waste and post the results for everyone to see. We’re trying to do this every two weeks or so to raise student awareness of wasteful dining habits.
Are you offering incentives?
We will soon provide sample cups that enable students to taste various foods before they fill their plates. We’ve also talked about having “trayless days” to encourage them to limit themselves to one plate of food at a time. Our message is “Take what you can eat.” Of course they can always go back for seconds or thirds. Project Clean Plate aims to alter eating habits by introducing the idea of portion control.
How about Project Green Thumb?
Project Green Thumb is our ongoing recycling/energy conservation program. Chartwells has worked with Aramark to get more recycling containers in the kitchens and dining halls. We’re also using post-consumer napkins,
recycling fryer oil, cans and other food packaging, and reducing energy in the dining halls. In January we saved 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is a substantial energy reduction.
And you’re introducing a reusable plastic mug?
We’re selling 20 oz. insulated mugs this week at the Administration Building’s 7720 Café. They cost $6.99 each, which also includes two free refills and unlimited $1.09 refills. The program will launch campuswide next fall, with mugs distributed to all incoming freshmen.
How else is Chartwells pitching in to make TU a green campus?
We participate in TU’s Adopt-A-Campus program by taking responsibility for a zone on campus. Last week our employees collected about 40 pounds of trash. Chartwells’ go-green programs are designed to create solutions—and to complement the university’s existing green initiatives.
For more information on these and other campus initiatives, see Go Green.
main article index]