Experience More, Waste Less

About “Experience more, waste less”

This research project will consist of a quantitative study which will compare the amount of post-consumer waste in LVC’s dining hall from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the fall semester as a starting point, but the study may be extended to the spring semester.  For a more accurate comparison, additional data will be pooled from last semester (spring 2013) (if available).

Metz will be implementing various initiatives throughout the first month of the fall semester (i.e. independent variables).  Post-consumer waste (edible & inedible waste) will be measured bi-weekly beginning Thursday 8/29.  Outside variables that may affect the amount of food waste include the food offered, weather, big events happening on campus, stressful time periods, etc.  This project aims to interpret the data collected and determine if the initiatives are changing students’ behavior and if so, which initiatives are most effective.

A written survey will be given to a sample of about 100 students in the beginning of the semester with a few questions about sustainability/food waste as a baseline for all EAT projects.  The same survey will be given to the same students at the end of the semester to determine if there are any changes in attitude.  Additionally, an accommodating qualitative observational study will be conducted which will include questions that will encourage students to express their opinions and reveal their motivations regarding sustainability/food waste (will take place about mid-October).  This qualitative study will help determine if there is a correlation/no correlation between students’ attitudes and actions regarding food waste.

Results at the end of fall semester 2014: 

  • Edible food waste per person was reduced by 19%
  • Total edible food waste was reduced by roughly 15%
  • The reduction in food was significant (with p < .001)

Here is a poster presentation of the results:  Smith Poster ASFS

For the results of the related “Food Attitudes” survey, click here.