Clean Plates at State weighs in on food waste

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It’s dinner time at Case Hall on the Michigan State University campus.

Students have endless options of food items at the nine on campus cafeterias.

“I had the honey chicken with rice and brussel sprouts, mozzarella sticks and cantaloupe,” senior, Ellen Dipietro, said. “I ate it all”

Elizabeth Lytle, a department aid at the residential housing services on campus, doesn’t care what’s on the menu. She wants to know what’s on the plates after dinner.

“Today is about clean plates at state, it’s a food waste awareness program,” she said.

In just one semester, there’s over 500,000 pounds of food waste.

“It’s the same as filling the Breslin court, just the basketball court with about three feet high full of food waste,” said Lytle.

However, not all students try to waste food.

“I really make sure I pick out foods I like and I know I’ll finish,” said Dipietro.

But, having so much to choose from can be overwhelming.

“I’m a victim of that sometimes because I’ll try stuff I think I like and I don’t so I don’t eat it,” Ella Suliman, a freshman, said.

Lytle and her volunteer crew weighed leftovers for two hours non-stop.

When the occasional clean plate arrived, they made sure everyone knew it.

There’s always ways to save waste like waiting to go back for seconds or asking for smaller portions of new foods you want to try.