U of Rhode Island combating food waste

When composting isn't possible, other ways to reduce waste are vital.

April 19—Though a comprehensive composting program isn't feasible at this time for the University of Rhode Island's dining services department, the team is still working to reduce food waste in its operations. 

 Steve Mello, URI’s director of dining and retail food operations, says composting large quantities of food requires massive “waste refrigerators” to house it until trucks can come retrieve the waste.. These refrigerators can be costly and the nutrient content of the food waste may not be suitable for use as a fertilizer, he said. Food that is suitable for composting costs significantly more than what is currently being used in the dining halls, Mello said.

Mello, and dining services, are constantly looking for ways to limit waste. The amount of food consumed and the types of meals that sell best are recorded daily. This information is used to show the average amounts of food that will be needed at specific times during the day and what foods will be eaten based on popularity. This helps ensure there isn’t a limited surplus of food at the end of the day.