The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Towards a trayless future

By Sam Adels & Emma Mondadori

Last week, Café Mac began displaying the total daily food waste produced by Bon Appetite’s operations throughout campus. Some students expressed outrage at the fact that Trayless Tuesday’s waste (958.72 pounds) was close to double the amount for every other day that week. Trayless Tuesdays, which began last year, has prompted mixed responses from the study body. While some applaud Café Mac’s effort’s to be environmentally conscious, others bemoan the inconvenience of getting up repeatedly for additional servings. Some students have written harsh comment cards to the Café Mac staff, while others have gone so far as to trash a section of the cafeteria on a Trayless Tuesday. We ask the student body to (1) be more respectful and (2) consider life without trays.Macalester is a democratic institution with enough space for everyone’s thoughtful concerns. There is no room, however, for rude and childish backlash against Trayless Tuesday. While stuffing food into cups and making a mess of the cafeteria may get your point across to the Café Mac management, the burden falls on Café Mac employees and students workers staying after hours to clean up your mess. Furthermore, Trayless Tuesdays was not an idea of the Café Mac management, it was a student-led initiative. Wrongfully punishing Café Mac workers isn’t the most meaningful form of protest.

For those of you concerned with the discrepancy of food waste last Tuesday, Café Mac management wants you to know that levels of waste change on different days based on the business of Bon Appetite campus-wide. Deb Novotny, Café Mac’s General Manager, explains, “You have to consider the Atrium, Scottie’s, food preparation, and catering in determining the total food waste on the board.” It just so happens that last Tuesday was a particularly busy day for Bon Appetite catering. Novotny adds, “In the future we will make a clean distinction between consumer waste [i.e.: your waste] and food production waste [i.e.: everything else campus-wide]”.

For tray-enthusiasts, one can still find trays for the taking stacked at the tray drop-off conveyor belt. Café Mac employees will gladly let you use one of these trays, but before you grab a tray, here are a few good reasons not to use one:

1. Health. Getting food on a plate-by-plate basis means you will probably eat slower, which studies have shown is healthier. You might eat less too.

2. Waste. Going to the supermarket on an empty stomach is a bad idea because you want/buy everything. Conversely, by taking one plate at a time you are more likely to finish your food and leave less behind.

3. Water. Trays are just a giant dish-if we don’t use them we save the water and energy needed to clean them.

4. Friends. Ever had to pile trays on top of each other just to sit with your homies? Without trays more friends can share a meal.

5. Accidents. You don’t want the cafeteria to erupt in laughter and applause after your trayful of food crashes to the floor. Deb Novotny says the slipperiness of trays accounts for most accidents in the cafeteria. Skipping the tray ensures minimal spillage, and consequently less embarrassment for you.

For those suffering from sizzling plates, Café Mac is addressing this problem by buying additional dishware (when the cafeteria gets busy, the turn-around is too short and recently-washed dishes come out too hot).

The Twin Cities looks to Macalester for leadership in many areas, especially in terms of environmental action. The University of Minnesota, with a population close to thirty times that of Macalester, has already gone trayless. If they can do it, so can we. Food accounts for anywhere between 25-35% of national carbon emissions. While it’s very hard to quantify, we can expect the same for Macalester’s food emissions. In the movement towards a more sustainable future, it is only proper for us do to our part in reducing our environmental impact.

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    Keith SimpsonSep 11, 2019 at 11:54 pm

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