When Less Means More: Reduced Food Waste at Freedom Cafeteria
When Less Means More: Reduced Food Waste at Freedom Cafeteria
  • Reporter Lee Suh-young
  • 승인 2012.06.07 18:13
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POSTECH Freedom Cafeteria has tackled the food waste issue by implementing an all-you-can-eat system that reminds students to only take the amount that they are sure to eat. This began on May 1.
According to school authority, “Each student left an average of 145 grams of food waste during the two weeks from starting the new all-you-can-eat system.” This is a 38.4 percent decrease compared to that of the same period last year when food waste was over 234 grams per plate. This is proof of the significant impact that the new system brought on students’ food waste.
This new system started with the raise on meal price. In response to the meal price survey, the student board of Welfare Facilities had approved the request of raising meal prices to 2,500 KRW for all three meals each day effective on May 1. Previously, they were 2,000 KRW for breakfast and 2,200 KRW for lunch and dinner. Welfare Facilities requested an increase of 500 KRW for breakfast and 300 for lunch and dinner due to the increased costs of food and production as well as response to worries towards deterioration in the quality of meals.
The reduced food wastes rates differ for each meal. When it comes to breakfast, only 10.6 percent of food is wasted while 22.2 percent, 25.3 percent are wasted for lunch and dinner, respectively. This difference is significant because 65.3 percent of food was wasted for breakfast, 24.4 percent for lunch, and 30.7 percent for dinner at the same period last year. 
Seok-Nam Son, the manager of Welfare Facilities said that “Since the new all-you-can-eat system was implemented, the good thing is that the food waste decreased incredibly. On the other hand, students eat a lot, I mean a lot.”
Despite the concerns of effectiveness of raising the meal price, surely students eat more compared to last year. According to the data collected from May 1 to May 15, the Welfare Facilities spent 39.7 million KRW for ingredients, compared to 35.1 million KRW from last year. For each meal, the price for ingredients expanded by 10.7 percent. This figure is greater than the consumer price index, which jumped 3.9 percent last month from a year earlier.
“I think it was a quite successful trial to change to the all-you-can-eat system; we can eat more and waste less. But it is also true that we lost the variety of choice due to the integration of menu A and menu B,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous.
Also, another anonymous student said that, “It is a bit unfair for girls who eat less. What is more, before the implementing the new system, anyone who wanted to eat more was able to ask a cafeteria lady to give more. If the quantity of food consumed doesn’t change, the quality of food should be changed.”

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