By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

A local university is serving up more than just a good meal for students; they're also keeping it green.

Hundreds of students fill this dining facility at Troy University each day, making for hundreds of dirty dishes and trays. But those trays are now a thing of the past. It's all in an effort to go "green" and save some cash.

Michael Benca, the Executive Chef of Stewart Dining Hall, says, "What it does for our operations economically, is it cuts down on the use of water."

Benca says the tray-less dining initiative began August 8th. They made the switch to laminate serving dishes. He says it not only saves money, but food as well.

Benca says, "We have cut down I think about 150-200 pounds of food waste a day just by going to the trayless dining initiative."

Some students think it can be a pain at times.

David McDowell, a Troy University student, says, "It's a nuisance because I'm tired of getting up and walking back and forth without a tray. However, if it’s saving the school money, I don't have a problem with it."

The vast majority say it passes the test.

Gucci Hudson and Ashleigh Waddail, Troy University students, say, "I think it's a good idea, the whole going “green” thing is a great. It makes it easier to throw away stuff. Yes, it does."

So, what's going to happen to all of the unused trays? Well, they'll still serve a purpose.

Benca says, "When we gather up cans, in early November, and donate to local food banks for the fall and winter season, we are going to combine that with donating the trays to those less fortunate local school systems that may still find a use for them."

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Other universities have already gone “tray-less”. The environmental impact is calculated to save about 200 gallons of water a day, per thousand meals served.


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