By Gabrielle Ruxin
Last week was a busy one for the Sustainable Foods Team. On Tuesday, we had our “No Food Left Behind” challenge and conducted a waste audit in the back of Covel. We haven’t analyzed our data yet, but after separating the starches from other food waste, we noticed a significant amount of starch waste. In fact, it accounted for more than half of our solid food waste! Our outreach that night was challenging as many students were in a rush and did not want to stop and learn more about food waste before eating dinner. Near the end, we thought of the catchphrase a “zero waste dinner”, which was much easier to say and helped get students’ attention. However, we will need to think of more ways that make students want to learn about food waste and motivate them to cut down on their waste.
Later that week, on Friday, we set up a booth at Ecochella. There, we had similar activities as at the Earth Day Fair. Many students were interested in our research and the apple challenge as people at the concert were much more environmentally inclined and came to the concert for the purpose of learning about sustainability. We received more survey responses to help with our data and people were once again amazed that the core of an apple disappears if you eat it correctly!
We have now finished with the major part of our education and outreach to students and while it was difficult to change people’s eating habits and mindsets, we hope that we have made an impact in the food waste produced at UCLA. We also feel that our research can be the starting point of a much bigger campaign on food waste, where students will be inclined to pay attention to their individual waste.