Everybody Eats: A Survey About Food Waste

SIP Interns: What are they up to?

Interested in expanding educational materials related to food waste reduction, Elizabeth Hellmann, a junior Environmental Studies and Sustainability major and UK Recycling intern, created a project survey called Everybody Eats.

The following is authored by Hellmann about the survey.

Food waste is a massive global issue. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 30-40% of all United States food ends up getting trashed. Food breaks down differently in the landfill, releasing methane gas, which has 28 times the impact than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Additionally, wasting over 1/4 of the world’s food fails to address food insecurity. I really wanted to shed some light on these issues, so I developed a survey with the topic of food waste reduction in mind.

The Everybody Eats survey addresses food waste by giving UK students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to evaluate their food habits and consider the ways in which food waste appears in their lives. After the survey is submitted, UK Recycling will follow up with resources based on what the user indicates interest in, directing individuals to opportunities and other educational materials. If we understand the implications of food waste, we can then take steps in our own lives to live more sustainably by preventing as much food going to waste as possible. The data collected from Everybody Eats will be helpful towards gauging interest levels for future programs and opportunities for expanding food waste education and programs.

This project aids UK becoming a zero-waste campus, which is one of UK’s five guiding sustainability principles:

  1. Make the pursuit of sustainability goals an integral part of the UK student experience
  2. Reinforce the University’s commitment to our people
  3. Decarbonize Campus Operations 
  4. Become a Zero-Waste Campus
  5. Model Environmental Excellence

Specifically, the Everybody Eats survey will contribute to sustainability on campus by supporting Goal 4.8, which aims to “Increase education and outreach focused on Zero-Waste.”

The Everybody Eats survey, which takes approximately 3-4 minutes to complete, is currently live and available to any UK student, faculty, or staff member. Click here to complete!

“Learning about organics and food waste diversion efforts at UK from a behind-the-scenes perspective has been amazing. My hope is for this survey to increase awareness not only on what UK is accomplishing, but how everyone has a connection to food and the ability for all of us to make an impact on food waste reduction.”

Elizabeth Hellmann, SIP Intern

UK Recycling is excited to see how this project influences food waste reduction on campus!

Elizabeth Hellmann

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