Food Waste Initiatives
As we know from the US EPA, over 40% of the food we produce never gets eaten causing a massive environmental impact and exacerbating food inequity. At Loyola, we have taken a number of steps to address food waste, put extra food to good use, and compost organic waste generated by our actions. With our partners in dining services (Aramark and HandCut Foods) and in housekeeping and composting (Millard and Lakeshore Recycling) we have the following efforts underway:
- Smaller plate sizes and eliminating trays – These easy steps have helped cut back on food waste during each meal by 30% since implementation.
- Food waste digester – Our digester in our Health Sciences Campus diverts over 640 pounds of organic waste each month from the landfill.
- Food Recovery Network LUC – Loyola’s chapter of this international program works with on-campus events and Loyola dining to safely deliver left-over food to local food banks and soup kitchens. In the fall of 2018, FRN LUC recovered 2,546 lbs of food equal to 2,830 meals.
- YourFoodLoyola – Loyola students launched a new program to share left-over food locations through social media accounts. Students following these accounts are notified when there is food available after an event and they can use the food before it goes to waste.
- Thomas of Canterbury Soup Kitchen Outreach – Twice a week Loyola students support a local soup kitchen providing meals and supporting over 3,000 individuals through Community Service and Action.
- Labre – This long-standing program of Campus Ministry has brought food to individuals experiencing homelessness each Thursday evening in downtown Chicago.
- HungerWeek – Taking place during Ignatian Heritage Month, this week of programming explores hunger and the impact of our food system while raising money for food-related charities locally, nationally, and globally. The annual canned food drive collects approximately 1,400 pounds of food to be donated to local food pantries.
- Urban Agriculture Program – This effort from the Institute of Environmental Sustainability trains students to grow food in a sustainable food system and has an annual commitment to donate 20% of all produce. Other food is sold at Loyola’s student-run Farmers Market and Felice’s, Loyola’s student-run pizza shop.
- Clean Plate Challenge – Multiple times each year, Loyola students are confronted with their own food waste. Diners are asked to commit to the ‘Clean Plate Challenge’ to only take what they will eat and are made aware of the waste they produce.
- Commercial Scale Composting – Loyola adopted composting for its dining halls in 2012 and annually diverts 150-180 tons of organic waste from the landfill. This is 20% of all waste generated at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.