Covid-19 Waste Patterns in UW Campus Area Restaurants
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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated multiple responses from governments at all levels across the world, many of which concern the safe operation of businesses, including restaurants. The following research examines the effects of such implementations on the food service industry in the immediate area surrounding the University of Wisconsin-Madison and how these regulations have influenced the waste streams from restaurants in the area. Existing literature on the subject indicates increases in solid waste since Covid-19 began and this research aims to determine whether or not this widely observed trend is visible at a smaller geographic scale. Using a combination of widely distributed surveys to UW students and interviews with two officials at the City of Madison and one restaurant owner, we found that there is a general awareness of increased restaurant usage of certain materials since the start of the pandemic, and local homes and businesses alike have altered their waste-related practices, and product buying habits in order to adhere to and cope with pandemic-related restrictions. Using these findings, we concluded that business restrictions put in place since the onset of Covid-19 have led to an overall increase in solid waste from Madison's restaurants, which correlates in part with existing scholarly work and opens up possibilities for further specialized research on the topic.
University of Wisconsin - Madison