Sodexo Challenges Diners on College Campuses to Go Trayless and Go Green

April 21, 2008

Not using a tray saves water and energy; reduces food waste

Sodexo Challenges Diners on College Campuses to Go Trayless and Go Green

GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 21, 2008 - On Earth Day, students on 300 college campuses served by Sodexo will line up to get their meals in a new way – without using a plastic tray. The move was introduced by Sodexo as part of the company’s commitment to reduce negative impact on the environment; going trayless saves thousands of gallons of water each day and reduces electricity and chemical use.

“Campuses that have tossed the trays also report reduced food waste,” said Tom Post, president of campus dining for Sodexo.

Sodexo is sharing the benefits of trayless dining with campuses in hopes of them joining a national trend. Many of its approximately 600 campuses are retiring their trays. So far, the program has been embraced by Georgia Tech, Colorado College, Tulane in New Orleans, Georgia State, Rowan University in N.J., and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, with more than 150 campuses that have already opted out of using trays on a daily basis. So far, the environmental impact is calculated to be a savings of about 200 gallons of water a day per 1,000 meals served. Sodexo serves one million meals on campuses each day, which means the water-saving potential of this initiative is 200,000 gallons of water a day if all campuses agreed to go trayless.

“We strongly recommend trayless dining in all locations to reduce water and waste,” said Post. “Trayless dining has so many unexpected benefits and it’s easy to achieve.”

Other benefits to trayless dining include:

  • Reducing electricity, water and chemical use because there are far fewer dishes and trays to wash, saving thousands of gallons of water every day and generating hundreds of dollars in detergent and electricity savings.

  • Cutting detergents, solid waste and grease that goes down the drain also improves our local community’s water supply. Food materials discharged to local waste water treatment plants contribute to increased levels of BOD (biological oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand), TSS (total suspended solids), and O/G (oil and grease). Food materials discarded into the solid waste stream contribute to odor and methane generation at disposal facilities. 

  • Cutting back on dining overhead cost because there is no purchase or ongoing replacement cost for trays.

Sodexo's corporate citizenship priorities include fighting hunger and malnutrition, improving the quality of life of our customers and employees, promoting health and wellness, conducting ethical business, and promoting sustainability. Sodexo's food and environmental platform in North America focuses on sourcing and providing locally grown foods, improving nutrition, promoting local economies, energy conservation and carbon reduction, reducing the use of toxic chemicals, integrated waste management and minimizing packaging.

Sodexo, Inc.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated food and facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with $7.3 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo, Inc. serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds the Sodexo Foundation (www.helpstophunger.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $9.2 million in grants to fight hunger in America.

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