Restaurant owner talks food waste
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 22:09
Rich Colliss, manager of Cucina Di Napoli, said it bothers him when his patrons leave nearly a whole plate of food behind.
“I don’t like to see food ever go to waste,” Colliss said.
He said food waste most commonly occurs in his restaurant when customers are in a hurry or forget to pick up their orders. Colliss said he offers those meals to his staff instead of throwing them away and tries to prevent waste by making “the right amount of food for the price.”
A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that Americans waste approximately 40 percent of the food they purchase, a 50 percent increase from the 1970s.
According to Collis, this problem is partially cultural.
“Americans can be very wasteful,” he said. “If we lived in another country, we would have a different outlook.”
At the university students often waste food in the dining hall because they are unsure of how it will taste, said junior Paulina Wiedmann. She said when students try different food in order to find something they like, uneaten food is the result.
“The food looks okay, but then it turns out to be pretty gross,” Wiedmann said.
She said students return to the line to try something else, creating a cycle.
According to the Dining Services website, a standard “10 Weekly” meal plan with $275 worth of points costs $2,121 per semester.
Junior Brittany Cheadle said she is angered when students throw food away at the dining hall.
“I put a lot of money into a dining hall plan,” Cheadle said.
John Mackenzie, a resource economic and sustainable development professor, said technology is key to reducing food waste. He said the U.S. agricultural industries create less waste than developing countries because of their technological advantage.
“A contrarian idea is that while we think of highly-developed countries as wasting more food, there’s more waste in less developed countries,” Mackenzie said.
He said the poultry industry in southern Delaware can process every part of the chicken while developing countries use traditional methods which are less efficient, resulting in more waste.
Mackenzie added that domestically, he is not sure if there is a difference in the amount of food waste in high and low-income households. However, he said those who have a refrigerator can reduce the amount of food they throw away.
Junior Madison Helmick said she frequently sees plates filled with food on the conveyor belt disposal system in the dining hall. She attributes this to the staff’s lack of serving size standards rather than students’ wasteful attitudes.
“A lot of times the dining hall staff gives you huge portions,” Helmick said.
Dining Services could not be reached for comment.