We’re on a bit of a kick about reducing food waste here—and no wonder. Cutting your food waste saves you money (no more gloppy, rotten tomatoes left in the back of the fridge) and decreases the amount of methane-generating material going into landfill.

So we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for tips and tricks for limiting the amount of waste your restaurant produces—and came across this interesting article on cutting down waste in college cafeterias—specifically the ones at California State University, Fullerton.

The article didn’t address waste during food prep, but did explain some interesting ways college foodservice organizations are  decreasing the amount of leftovers that get thrown out by students. These include:

  • Eliminating cafeteria trays. By only offering a bowl or plate to fill, college restaurants can ensure that students don’t pile their trays with stuff they’re not going to eat. Think about it: how many times have you taken a roll at a buffet simply because there was room on your tray? Eliminating trays also cuts back on the amount of washing that needs to be done, saving how water and cleaning supplies.
  • Control portion sizes. The phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” is true. By making portion sizes smaller (but enabling students to go back for seconds…or thirds) cafeterias manage to reduce the amount of food thrown away simply because too much was taken. (An added bonus of this strategy could be slimmer waistlines on campus, too.)
  • Prepare food fresh to order. When meals are prepped in front of students, they tend to take less “extra” food like bread.
  • Set up a donation partnership. Partnering with a food-recovery company or charity like Second Harvest can turn edible leftovers into food for shelters, food banks, and other social welfare organizations.

What do you think? Can any of these tips be adapted for restaurant use? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Image credit: worak