Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 51.19
Liaison Jim Walker
Submission Date Jan. 31, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Texas at Austin
ER-2: Student Sustainability Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.00 / 5.00 Meagan Jones
Environmental Specialist
Division of Housing and Food Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution hold a campaign that meets the criteria for this credit?:

The name of the campaign(s):
Plate Waste Studies/Tray Free Campaign

A brief description of the campaign(s):

Between Spring 2008 and Fall 2009, the division of housing and food service conducted three food waste studies to determine the amount of edible food that is served and then thrown away in the two ‘all you care to eat’ dining facilities on campus. The first study revealed 112 tons of post-consumer food waste per academic year, at approximately 5.68oz per patron. A student-driven Plate Waste focus group was then formed to develop a waste reduction action plan.
Focus Group actions (Spring 2008-Fall 2008):
- Advertizing campaign, smaller trays at one dining hall, small portion sizes, waste display, “Trays Optional” campaign and student and staff education.
- A goal of 50% reduction in food waste was set for October 2008.
A second plate waste study was conducted in Fall 2008 to determine the effectiveness of the proposed action plan. Results of the second study showed a total of 80 tons per year and approximately 3.89oz per patron.
Focus Group actions (Fall 2008-Fall 2009):
- Proposal for Tray Free dining in the two ‘all you care to eat’ dining facilities.
- Resolutions passed for Tray Free dining in Student Government and the University Residence Hall Association.
Trays were removed and a third plate waste study was conducted to reveal an overall 49% decrease in post-consumer food waste per patron over the two year study.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign(s):

The waste surveys showed a decrease of 49% in the ounces of waste per patron, and a decrease of 48% in total waste over the academic year (comparing the baseline year with the first year of trayless dining).

Along with the decrease in food waste, we also expect that we are saving water, energy and dish machine chemicals, but due to many factors, these have not been quantified.

The website URL for the campaign:

The Plate Waste Studies, Plate waste focus group and Tray-Free campaign lasted from Spring 2008-inplementation of trayless dining in Fall 2009.

Sampling and Data Standards
- All food returning to the dish room during a four day period was weighed and recorded.
- Inedible portions such as bones, fruit peels, apple cores, napkins, etc. were subtracted from the total weight.
- Numbers were calculated per patron and extrapolated for current patron levels to estimate waste per year.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.