Students in the Mahoney-Pearson Dining Hall threw away 77.9 pounds of food in just a two-hour period, according to an on-campus experiment held by the Energy and Conservation Organization (ECO) Agency on Wednesday.
The ECO Agency is the environmental branch of the University of Miami Student Government that tries to find sustainable initiatives on campus. The experiment, known as the Weigh Your Waste campaign, aimed to bring food waste issues to light.
“We create and implement initiatives all over campus, from solar panels, to the food court, to increased recycling, to lake science – we do all of that,” said Nika Hosseini, chair of ECO. “We’re partnering with UM Dining to promote sustainability and to spread awareness about how much waste [is produced] at UM.”
About 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten according to the National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit international environmental advocacy group. Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year and much of that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills. Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would provide enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year, according to the National Resources Defense Council.
“The main goal of the Weigh Your Waste campaign is to spread awareness … It’s a serious environmental issue and a huge humanitarian issue … If we can save that food, we can give it to those that are in need … That could easily feed a small nation,” Hosseini said.
Hosseini also explained how students can make a difference.
“Simple things, really … portion control. Just take the amount of food that you think you can actually eat,” she said. “Even if you do waste, try to compost, so all the waste isn’t going to a landfill and accumulating.”
Featured image courtesy Pixabay user blickpixel.