UNCP tastes the sandwich that is saving the planet


Sodexho served up a plate of eco-literacy on Earth Day for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


The joy of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shows on Jamel Lee’s face

The joy of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shows on Jamel Lee’s face

The giant international food services company that manages four dining facilities at UNCP replaced hamburgers with peanut butter and jelly (PB&J) sandwiches and went without food trays.

The savings mounted up, for the earth that is.

Replacing one hamburger, tuna or chicken sandwich with PB&J reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 pounds and saves 133 gallons of water, scientists estimate (PB&J Campaign, www.pbjcampaign.org).

These were not your momma’s PB&Js. Sodexho served them up grilled.

Jamel Lee, a musical theatre major from Watertown, N.Y., got two. It took him a minute to warm up.

“Interesting,” he said after one bite. “That’s not bad, delicious, no amazing!”

“Great!” said John Medford, a political science major from Rocky Mount, N.C. “I eat peanut butter from a spoon.”

Mark Payne, a faculty member in the Physical Education Department, did not select a sandwich. But he offered some ideas.

 Eco literacy was part of Sodexo’s Earth Day program

Eco literacy was part of Sodexo’s Earth Day program

“No trays is no problem,” Payne said. “I wouldn’t mind seeing them go with recyclable paper and plastic.”

Robert Canida II, director of the Multicultural Center was on hand to answer questions at lunch.

“I’m a vegetarian, so I was happy to come by and explain how not eating meat is good for the planet,” Canida said. “This is a very good initiative on Sodexho’s part.”

Going without trays will save both water and food, said Mike Nance, Sodexho’s regional manager.

“We will separate food waste today, weigh it and do the same thing tomorrow,” Nance said. “It will be interesting to see how much food is saved, but I guarantee it will be a lot.”

Nance proved to be a prophet when the results were tallied.

On Earth Day, 190 pounds of waste was recorded at both lunch and dinner.
On the day after, there was 290 pounds of waste was left after lunch and 340 pounds after dinner.

“Wow! What a big difference,” Nance said. “Our conclusion is that people tend to put more food on their tray than they can eat.”

Sodexo, Inc. is a leading integrated food and facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada and Mexico with $7.3 billion in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than 10 million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government and remote sites.