Waste Management’s Total Recycle Program (TRP) began its Clean Plate Challenge (CPC) campaign two years ago to focus on food waste reduction. Each semester, TRP conducts CPC during lunches and dinners throughout April and October, capitalizing on national holidays, Earth Day and America Recycles Day, respectively. CPC activities are instrumental in bringing awareness to students about food waste as well as driving behavior change. A correlation exists between conducting multiple CPCs at an institution and a decrease in the number of students with plates containing food waste following the lunch or dinner period. Thanks to the collaboration with college and university facilities, dining services, faculty, staff and student environmental groups from 16 Waste Management customers throughout New England, over 6,000 students have been reached in CPCs:
Clark University – Holy Cross – Suffolk University – Johnson and Wales University – Pine Manor College – Stonehill College – Westfield State University – University of Rhode Island – Providence College – Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Brown University- Salve Regina – Berklee College – Endicott College – Mass College of Art and Design – Rhode Island College
Educating students about the environmental impact of food waste and providing recommendations how to reduce food waste have been constants since the inception of CPC. Complimenting these, CPC incorporated new messaging for fall 2017, ‘Take What You Want, Eat What You Take’, which was accompanied by caloric and exercise information aiming to appeal to a broader audience. This, in part, resulted in achieving the highest percentage of “clean plate clubbers”, 47%. In addition, CPC expanded to support initiatives influencing the use of reusable to go containers.