UCSC implements tray-less cafeterias


Natalie Watts and Stephanie Rosas are enjoying breakfast at the dining commons on the UC Santa Cruz campus; it's all you can eat, all you can drink and no dining tray.

"I think it's a really good thing, I think when people get trays they tend to get more food then they could possibly eat, so it probably conserves food and less is being thrown away," said Rosas.

And it's how to reduce the amount that is being thrown away, that is the main driving force here, according to UC Santa Cruz Director of Dining and Hospitality Services Scott Berlin.

"If we can reduce waste that is not going to the landfill, it's at the critical stage - it's maxed out. We're looking to divert at least 80,000 pounds of waste this year by going tray-less," said Berlin.

Berlin also says going tray-less will reduce the water used to clean dishes and trays by 300,000 gallons per year. And that means less use of polluting detergents.

Not everyone is on board with this program. There are still some students who say 'why did you take away my tray?' And Danica Christinsen and Ranna Khorram are two of them.

"People are going to get more plates and more things and use the same amount of water and detergent and soap and stuff," said Khorram.

"Yeah, yesterday I had a meal I had a bowl, a plate , a little plate; I might as well just have had a tray and stacked everything up on there," said Christinsen.

And there's a side benefit. The forced delay between servings may reduce the student body. Or at least the size of an individual student's body.

"If you've done the right thing, you've taken twenty minutes, your metabolism caught up with you and it says I'm full, I don't need anymore," said Berlin.

Berlin says, with so many advantages, practically every dorm in America will have some version of tray-less dining in the next five to eight years.

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