Students Study Food Waste at Mount Union

April 24, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — As part of the University of Mount Union’s fifth annual SCHOLAR Day event, a group of students took on a unique research project — investigating the amount of food wasted in the Mount Union dining commons and the methods that can be used to reduce that waste.

Group members included senior biology major Tyler Gorham of Millersport, OH, senior biology major Cali Granger of Homeworth, OH, sophomore psychology major Celia Kovalak of Brunswick, OH, sophomore environmental science major Zachary Melvin of Woodmere Village, OH, junior environmental science major Mary Mahoney of Ashtabula, OH, sophomore communication major Elizabeth Karapandzich of Twinsburg, OH and senior middle childhood education major Lauren Frost of Youngstown, OH. The group was sponsored by Dr. Charles McClaugherty, professor of biology.

Students studied other colleges and universities and the methods they use to dispose of food waste and examined ways in which Mount Union can manage its own food waste. Students studied methods including posting signs in the dining commons to make students aware of waste, donating leftover food to be used for animal feed, going trayless and using composting and pulping machines. The group found that other universities using a pulper experienced a drop in water usage and food waste hauling.

Should Mount Union decide to make efforts to decrease food waste, students noted, additional funding will be needed. The group suggesting funding such improvements with outside grants, alumni giving or student fees.

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