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Sodexo Highlights Food Waste at MC

Luigi DiSisto ’13, Staff Writer

Seven thousand pounds. On average, that is about how much food is wasted every year just from breakfasts at Sparky’s Place. At its “Weigh the Waste” event, Sodexo literally weighed what students wasted after an average meal, and then encouraged them to do something about it.

On Oct. 16, Sodexo measured all the uneaten food from breakfast at Sparky’s. To many students, the amount of waste was shocking. Due to the success of the event, there will be another “wasteLESS day” coming up next month to weigh the waste of lunch. The total amount of food wasted at breakfast on Tuesday was 27 pounds. Though that may not seem like much for the entire community of students who eat at Sparky’s, one can imagine how it would add up over a week, a semester or a year.

If 27 pounds is the average daily waste, that is just less than 7,000 pounds of wasted food every year, just at Merrimack, just for breakfast, and just at Sparky’s. One of the central themes behind this event was awareness. Students had the chance to learn what they were consuming, and how much of that consumption went to waste.

The director of environmental studies and sustainability at Merrimack, Professor Rose-Mary Sargent, pointed out that “The Weigh the Waste event is about sustainability and also about Sodexo’s global stop hunger initiative.” Sargent also mentioned that Merrimack’s Green Team has been “researching how other schools have worked with Sodexo on sustainability projects.” The Green Team was founded in 2008 and includes more than 150 students.

It consists of a community of students at the school who work together on a variety of sustainable activities on and off campus. Merrimack also has two environmental studies and sustainability students who are interning with Sodexo to learn about the company’s “going green” initiatives.

Juniors Chelsea Comfort and Autumn Linteau (who also happens to be the president of the Green Team) are the interns who helped to make the morning possible. “Our mission is to improve the awareness, participation, and satisfaction with sustainable programs offered by Sodexo and College Dining Services” and “to propose, implement, and measure sustainability initiatives on campus through collaboration with Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow Plan, campus community, and college commitments,” Comfort said. “Our vision is: Be a leader in the education of the campus community, dining staff, and administration on the impact of sustainability,” she said.

The event was promoted on Facebook under Merrimack’s Dining page, as well as Sodexo’s Sustainability Facebook page. This event did not take place only at Merrimack; Oct. 16 was Sodexo’s “Global WasteLESS Day.” This means that Merrimack was not the only campus being environmentally conscious for the day; there were initiatives at schools supplied by Sodexo everywhere.

Another aspect of this day was the pledge wall, which students used to make promises about how they planned to improve their means of consumption. “I pledge to only take as much as I can eat,” “I will finish my fries,” “Freeze and refrigerate my leftovers, and take one plate at a time” were a few of the pledges.

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