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Digesting Dining Waste

A Guide to How Dining Hall Waste Has Vanished

By Lauren Brown

Dining Hall

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

SidebarRemember dumping your tray at the conveyor belt on your way out of the dining hall? Half-eaten chicken tenders, cold mozzarella stick shells and dirty dishes just disappeared, right?

Today, you can trash such misconceptions on food waste at Maryland.

Dining Services and the Office of Sustainability are savoring successful efforts to eliminate trash from students in the dining halls. The biggest difference: switching to Anytime Dining in 2016, which allows students on meal plans to eat as much as they like on reusable dishes in the three dining halls, but bans disposable or takeout containers. (That alone saves 6.3 million single-use items every year.) 

Other ecofriendly actions have included removing trays, to eliminate the temptation to fill them with food that goes uneaten, and focusing heavily on composting. Collection of compostables across campus is up 48 percent since Anytime Dining launched. Think mealtime at Maryland couldn’t have changed so much? Feast on some of the fun facts above.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.