Behavioral economics in action, or call it voluntary paternalism:
Students ran a test last semester showing that on two days when trays
weren’t offered, food and beverage waste dropped between 30 and 50
percent, according to Kathy Woughter, vice president for student
affairs at Alfred. That amounts to about 1,000 pounds of solid waste
and 112 gallons of liquid waste saved on a weekly basis, according to
Think back to your undergraduate days eating in the dorm dining hall.
When you moved through the buffet line, did you ever get a little too
ambitious with portions just because you had extra room on that plastic
If I ran a cafeteria I would consider abolishing utensils, thereby encouraging South Indian and Ethiopian food, but I don’t expect that would be popular with all patrons.