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UC in the news: The University serves a green menu

Patrons accustomed to loading up their trays at UC Berkeley’s residential dining halls have had to adjust their eating habits this semester.

In January, Berkeley joined other UC campuses and many universities across the country by eliminating the plastic trays in dining halls as part of an effort to reduce waste and make food service more sustainable.

For students, trayless dining is a tangible sign of UC’s recently enacted sustainable foodservice initiatives that set goals for using products from organic or local sources, environmentally friendly practices and education on sustainability issues. Davis, Irvine, Riverside and Santa Cruz were the first UC campuses to go trayless in 2008. UC Santa Barbara began trayless dining last fall, and UCLA is testing it at one of its dining halls.

Already, the effort is paying dividends. At Santa Cruz, food waste is down by more than 30 percent, saving nearly $500,000 in food expenditures and more than a million gallons of water a year, according to the UC annual report on sustainability. UC Irvine says food waste per person is down 25 to 30 percent, Riverside says it saves 8,000 gallons of water per week, and Davis reports waste reduction of nearly 50 percent since trayless dining was introduced. Read more about UC’s innovative sustainable food policy.


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