April showers bring May flowers, but more importantly, April also brings Waste-Free Wednesdays back to campus. Each semester, this month-long campaign seeks to raise awareness about the various economic, environmental, and social justice issues posed by food waste.
Waste-Free Wednesdays is a relatively simple campaign; volunteers stand at the tray returns and hand out raffle tickets to those who return with clean plates and cups. There are a few items that don’t count, such as chicken bones and apple cores. At the end of the month, a winner is chosen from the raffle to receive 100 Flex Points. In addition, the campaign collects money for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and asks students to pledge to be waste-free.
On average, students waste about three ounces of food per meal. This adds up to more than one ton of wasted food each day. “While our food waste is significantly lower than it was in 2008, there is still a lot of work to be done,” says Anna Gorman ‘13, co-chair of the event.
To add a bit more interest to the campaign, this April’s Waste-Free Wednesdays will include a special “Clean Plate Club” raffle for those who go waste-free all 4 weeks, as well as new posters and giveaways. Gorman is hopeful that these new initiatives will serve as more lasting reminders. “The real goal of the campaign is to help students cultivate waste-free behavior at all times, not simply during the campaign.”
Waste-Free Wednesdays is co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, Notre Dame Food Services, GreeND, and the Hunger Coalition.