From a media release issued by Northland College and posted on

ASHLAND, Wis. – Northland College is taking another step to reduce its environmental impact by no longer offering trays in its cafeteria.

In the fall semester, the College began Tray-less Tuesdays, an initiative that saved 138 gallons of water each Tuesday by not offering trays to students. Now, Northland is extending the policy for the other six days of the week.

“We estimate we ran 828 fewer trays through the dish machine on Tuesdays” said Jeff Spangenberg, the director of food service at Northland. Because a tray takes twice as much space in the dishwashing machines as a plate, eliminating them is a simple but effective way to reduce the environmental impact of food service.

In addition to saving water, energy, dish soap and time, the policy also will cut down on food waste. By only using a plate, and going back to the buffet for seconds if necessary, students are less likely to over-estimate their appetites and take food they won’t eat. When Viterbo University went tray-less in 2007, they eliminated nearly three tons of food waste in two semesters. While Northland has fewer mouths to feed, the results are still expected to be significant.