Going trayless expands to dining halls across MU

Sunday, August 14, 2011 | 7:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – MU Campus Dining Services will expand a "trayless policy" in dining halls on campus at the start of the fall semester. 

Except for those customers who need them, trays will no longer be provided at Plaza 900, Rollins, the Pavilion at Dobbs and Mark Twain Market.

Campus Dining Services operated a pilot program in Rollins dining hall this summer.

"The pilot program successfully worked, with most customers providing positive feedback," said Michael Wuest, marketing manager for Campus Dining Services.

Missouri Students Association and Residence Halls Association have strongly supported expanding the policy for the fall semester, Wuest said.

Campus Dining Services can focus more on offering higher quality food to students with trayless dining in place, he said. “We can purchase more of high-quality local foods such as Missouri Legacy Beef and from local farmers,” he said.

Going trayless will also save on wasted water and food.

“MU will be able to save nearly 100,000 gallons of fresh, potable water each year when all the dining halls carry out the trayless policy,” Wuest said. “Approximately 65 tons of food and beverages — which is 26 percent of daily regular food waste in campus dining halls — will be saved.”

When people are hungry, he said, they tend to eat with their eyes and not with what their stomachs can handle, he said. "People load their trays up with food and end up throwing a lot of that same food away."

Use of detergents and other chemicals will decrease by 10 to 15 percent, he said.

Some students have been asking for trayless dining for as long as four years, Wuest said.  

“Over 600 colleges and universities in America have gone trayless," he said. "And the switch was successful."

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