Several hundred colleges have either stopped using trays in their cafeterias or plan to soon, according to an Associated Press report. By serving food on plates, college officials say they save water, cut costs, reduce food waste -- and help students keep off extra pounds from overeating.

The 50,000-student University of Florida estimates it will save 470,000 gallons annually. At the 2,000-student University of Maine at Farmington, which went trayless in February 2007, the tally is 288,000 gallons, said Aramark spokesman Dave Gargione.

The story also quotes Sodexo food-service spokeswoman Monica Zimmer, saying five times more energy and water are consumed in dining halls than any other square foot on college campuses.

"So if a college is looking to go 'green,' they need to start looking in the dining facility," Zimmer said.