Join the 'Trayless' Revolution

Author: Cheryl Bauer

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I have overheard a few people stating concerns that it is hard not to use a tray—something to the effect of, "I can only carry one plate and one glass." I have excellent news...this really is an easy fix! Take it from a pro, you can balance at least two plates or a bowl and a plate in your non-dominant hand along with your flatware. Check out the picture to see what I mean. 

Now, the good part. Just to give you an idea of what going trayless or 'tray inconvenient' adds up to, last year on the Thursday before Good Friday, the Office of Sustainability hosted a waste and weigh event in conjunction with a tray inconvenient day. From that event at South Dining Hall, the evening averaged 2.83 ounces of waste per person. At a previous waste and weigh event where everyone used a tray, the event averaged 3.31 ounces per person. Those numbers alone represent 14% less waste!

In addition to less food waste, there are many other benefits as well. It's estimated that by going trayless, 14,000 gallons of water are conserved annually, not to mention the man hours necessary to wash, dry and replace the trays. Being required to go back for seconds also makes you consider if you really want the extras, instead of forcing yourself to finish the pile of food you may have otherwise stacked on your tray.

If you are concerned about dropping your food, try it with empty plates until you feel comfortable making the change. Once you master it, this skill becomes very useful at holiday dinners when it's time to help your family with the clean up. 

If you need additional tips and inspiration to get on board with the trayless movement, check out these videos from the Office of Sustainability and as always, happy dining!