PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Airport already has the most sophisticated waste collection area of any airport in the country, but now they are taking it a step further.

A joint effort between PSU and PDX is underway to minimize food waste with donations, December 14, 2017 (KOIN)

Portland State University students working with community environmental services launched a food optimization study for 2015 and 2016 and now they’re helping food vendors implement plans to get their food waste even lower.

“We’ve had students working at the airport doing research to understand how we can minimize waste,” Port of Portland Environmental outreach Manager Lisa Appel says.

Monica Fleisher is one of the PSU students helping. She said a lot of simple changes can make a big difference.

“We’re getting the experience planning something, implementing something, and actually analyzing the results,” she says.

“Have the compost be most efficient, just scraps, the bare necessities of what should be going in there.”

They’re also using airport data to figure out how to more accurately stock the shelves so vendors don’t end up prepping food that won’t be used. The hope is to start a trend in minimizing airport food waste in Portland and eventually sharing the success with other airports across the country.

A food shop inside PDX, December 14, 2017 (KOIN)