Students scraping their scraps

According to Yale Dining officials, this semester’s new plate-scraping duties will remain with students — at least for now.

A new University dining policy asks students to remove food waste from their plates and sort their dirty dishware after meals. Director of Residential Dining Regenia Phillips said the experimental strategy aims to cut clutter in the dining halls, but is still under consideration by the 12 residential colleges. Though students have expressed annoyance at the new policy, most have also admitted that the system makes sense.

“Since we didn’t have to do it before, it seems like a pain,” Zana Davey ’15 said. “But of course, we should be scraping plates ourselves.”

Students first began scraping their own plates last spring in Timothy Dwight College, after meal-goers in that college complained that there was not enough room to bus their dishes in the designated area, Phillips said. The overcrowding occurred because many Timothy Dwight students were going without trays at the time, but the college’s bussing system required students to return their dishes by sliding their plates and other utensils into spaces on a cart designed to hold trays, she added.

Timothy Dwight decided to address the old inefficiencies by adopting a “trayless” bussing process, Phillips said. The new system allowed the college to manage dish clearing more easily, and the method quickly spread to other residential colleges after that, Phillips added.

The new system has eliminated the need for students to use trays by replacing the old carts with bins in which students sort and stack their used dishes, Phillips said.

“It was so successful that we decided to try it in all the dining halls,” she said.

But dining administrators have not yet decided if the new process is here to stay, and Phillips said there is no specific deadline for making the decision.

Phillips said the method is working better in some dining halls than in others.

Berkeley College Dining Manager Mike Aaronian said it is still too soon to tell if the new system will benefit the Berkeley dining hall.

Five students interviewed said though the new plate scraping policy is inconvenient, they believe Yalies will warm up to the new system.

Ken Gunasakara ’15 said he has had a positive experience with the system so far, adding that dining hall employees have been willing to help students navigate the process.

“I get helped about 50 percent of the time,” he said. “If they see me standing there, they usually take my plate.”

Phillips said staff members have been instructed to help students sort their dishware. She added that staff willingness to assist students will contribute to whether the policy will be effective in different dining halls.

Still, Davey said she thinks dining hall employees should continue considering how to make the new system more efficient in the future.

Commons has not yet implemented the tray scraping policy used in residential college dining halls.

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