By Sierra Santiago, Michelle Ma, Alaina DiSalvo, Irtesam Kha

An analysis of contributing factors of food waste and solutions at the Hunter College Brookdale campus and in the United States.

Food waste is a prevalent issue on the local, national, and global levels. In the U.S., nearly 40% of all food is discarded, and this occurs at every stage of food production, distribution, and consumption.
An investigation of the individual consumer’s experience is necessary to assess public opinion that can contribute to the implementation of potential solutions. College students who live in dormitories are especially of interest because they are new to independently purchasing groceries and may not have adopted proper food conservation habits. Data was collected via a survey to evaluate the status of food waste in the Hunter College Brookdale dormitory campus. 68 student responses were used to assess disparities between public opinion and facts about food waste, as well as student behaviors in regards to food consumption and waste. Students were unfamiliar with food waste trends, and the majority reported having thrown away food while living at the Brookdale dorms. Students also threw away a greater amount of food than they would have while living at home.

Educating college students and introducing them to food-saving practices is vital to stopping the massive amount of food waste in the U.S. Possible future points of investigation include further testing on what disparities exist between public perception and reality, whether college students contribute disproportionately to national food waste, if there is a correlation between experience in purchasing groceries and level of food waste, and which solutions are most effective in preventing food waste in college dormitories.


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