U.S. College Cafeterias Saying Goodbye to the Tray

Here’s a new green trend in college education: cafeterias without trays.  Students at colleges and universities across the U.S. have come back to school to find their cafeterias trayless, and suddenly find themselves carrying their meals back to their tables sans a handy carrying device.

cafeteria tray

Here’s why.  Going trayless saves money and helps the environment.  At the University of Florida, officials estimate that going trayless will save close to half a million gallons of water annually, not to mention soap.  That’s quite a savings in the school’s water bill that also lightens the load on an area that’s been stricken by drought for multiple years.

In addition, getting rid of the trays means less wasted food.  Students tend to only take what they can eat because there’s only so much they can carry.  This means less food in the landfills, which also saves the school money and lightens the load on the environment (and perhaps takes a chunk out of the dreaded Freshman 15).

Some students are going to complain, of course.  In a crowded cafeteria, this might cause a bit of chaos, as people wander back and forth from the cafeteria line to bring back their food.  If it’s really a problem, though, perhaps students can bring their own trays.  They can wipe them down after each meal and wash them after every few. Or hey, if your hands are full, stick a few items in your backpack.

At any rate, this strikes me as an innovative idea, even if students are stuck balancing their food.

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