All Terps know UMD Dining is working hard to cut down on its waste. While institutional support and effort is important to reach a more sustainable future, individual effort is also critical. So what can Terps do to cut down on their waste?
While eating on Campus
Make sure to sort (or not sort) your waste properly!
UMD dining facilities are equipped with waste sorting stations. If you are eating in the dining halls and are in a rush, or don’t know where to sort something leave it on your tray and the kitchen back staff will make sure it gets sorted into the proper waste stream. If you are eating in STAMP make sure you sort your own waste properly. If you are unsure if it can be composted don’t compost it! For information about how to deal with waste encountered at STAMP check out this Sustainable UMD video.
Go tray-less and skip the plastic
Not using a tray can help reduce water and energy usage. Share a tray with a friend while you grab lunch or hitchhike on a stranger’s tray when returning dishes. Plastic utensils can’t be recycled so skip them and use real silverware whenever possible. For more sustainable dining hall tips check out our previous post: Tips for being Sustainable in the Dining Hall.
While on your own and everywhere else
Remember expiration dates are estimates
Expiration and best by dates are good consumer safety features,but they are not the end all be all. Food does not magically become inedible the moment the clock strikes 12 on the day it is said to expire. Expiration dates are estimates of when something will go bad, and best by dates are estimates of when something will pass its peak freshness. That being said, don’t eat food you are uncertain about – spoiled food can make you seriously sick. For tips and tricks on how to tell if your food is still good check out EatByDate for a comprehensive guide of what to eat when.
Use all your food
Left overs, carrot skins, bread crusts, and wilting vegetables all have nutritional value and can be used to make tasty food. For how to use these food scraps and more check out Taking the Everything out of Everything Pot Pie- Using Kitchen Odds and Ends
Educate yourself on how you are wasting!
Take advantage of on campus composting but also compost at home! There are tons of systems available to buy or DIY for people in homes with yards or apartments. Composting doesn’t have to be smelly or space intensive. For a guide on some apartment friendly composting systems check out I Value Food’s Composting resources.
Image from I Value Food