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Trayless Dining Saves Rutgers $300K in 10 Weeks

New Brunswick campus eliminated trays in three of its four dining halls this year.

In the first 10 weeks since trays were eliminated this semester in three of the four dining halls, Rutgers University-New Brunswick has saved $300,000 in food costs and seen a 20% reduction in the amount students toss after they eat, according to Dining Services Executive Director Joseph Charette.

The university serves some 130,000 meals a week and generated about 4 million pounds of waste a year, which it paid an area farmer to haul away for use as animal feed, a program that won accolades from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the sustainable handling of its food waste.

However, with the cost of food rising 8-10% annually, Rutgers Dining decided to eliminate trays beginning this past fall at its Neilson, Busch and Livingston dining halls (a fourth dining hall, Brower Commons, would have to be redesigned to make the switch).

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