Kent State takes initiative to reduce waste


Students in the Conservation of Natural Resources class take waste and weigh it in Eastway Fresh Food Co. on Feb. 1.

Jada Miles

Kent State students are weighing food waste at Eastway Fresh Food Company to try to spark a change in students’ waste habits.

Dining Services partnered with the Department of Geography to reduce food waste in the dining halls and find possible options for composting food waste in the future.

Students started collecting food waste on Jan. 31 and will continue until Tuesday.

Emariana Widner, an associate professor in the Department of Geography, hopes to get a general measurement of how much food and what kind of food is wasted at Eastway.

“The results will give us some baseline data about the volume of waste generated,” Widner said. “This will help determine what type of composting equipment and set-up might work for KSU.”

The project, which aims to raise awareness about food waste, caught the attention of multiple students. 

“This is helping people realize that they are being wasteful and they don’t need to grab as much as they’re getting,” said Rachel Bilardo, a senior fashion merchandise major.

Paige Himburg, a senior fashion design major, helped collect the food waste on Feb. 7. She said it was easy to tell what food people weren’t eating from the buffet.

“There was about 60 pounds of food waste within two hours,” Himburg said.

The process of weighing the food is simple: the students record what is being wasted, weigh the food until it reaches a certain amount and then dump it.

“We’re writing down what the majority of the waste is,” Bilardo said. “Every time it measures to a certain amount, we dump it and then record how much it weighed.”

Widner hopes to use the results of the project to educate students about food waste.

“All the data will be used to educate students about what food waste is, its impact on the economy and our environment and how we can work to create less waste,” Widner said.

Jada Miles covers student life. Contact her at [email protected].