Neilson Dining Hall experiments with tray elimination


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Photo by Yangeng Lin |

James Neilson Dining Hall, located on Cook campus, started a pilot test yesterday to eliminate the use of food trays.


Neilson Dining Hall is following the example of other universities by eliminating food trays in time for today’s Earth Day celebration.

The dining hall, located on Cook campus, began the program yesterday as part of a pilot test for ridding Rutgers of trays altogether.

Chris Hazell, a supervisor for Neilson Dining Hall, said Rutgers recently evaluated food waste and discovered students take too much food when provided with trays.

The pilot, which is scheduled to last between one and two weeks, would allow Rutgers Dining Services to see how much they could save both from students taking less food and staff using less water to wash tableware.

“Students have a tendency to load up,” Hazell said. “It was astronomical the amount of food being wasted.”

Instead, they would grab plates and silverware separately.

Brandon Conti, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said it was more convenient to have trays rather than make multiple trips. But he conceded students could fit more easily into tables without the additional trays.

RU Dining Services tweeted a flyer that claimed most of the nation’s 4,000 universities would cut trays from dining halls within the next five years.

According the University of Connecticut’s Dining Services website, schools such as the University of San Diego, the University of Kansas and New York University have eliminated trays.

Sonni Waknin, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, agreed plenty of other schools have made the decision previously.

Although some would complain, Walknin said at most, it was a minor inconvenience.

“I usually just carry one plate,” she said. “I don’t use trays very much.”

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