This year’s annual MLK luncheon event continued to build upon many sustainability-focused efforts to reduce both food and container waste, as well as to ensure broad participation in the event.
Glass carafes of water and iced tea were placed on the tables, eliminating the need for 3,200 single-use plastic water bottles distributed to each place setting. Each recyclable lunch box included a simple wrap-around band detailing the items inside, including vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free options to accommodate diverse dietary needs and preferences. At Notre Dame, we realize that sharing a meal as a community makes us stronger, and using prepared boxed lunches allowed Campus Dining staff to participate in the event rather than having to serve at the event.
All non-consumable food waste (approximately 1,100 pounds) was collected and taken to the Grind2Energy system, allowing it to be turned into energy.
As Pope Francis reminds us, throwing away food is like stealing from those who are poor and hungry. In that spirit, all unopened lunches were collected and distributed to local charities, feeding those who are food insecure.