Reducing food waste in hospitals

Food waste in hospitals has been a big issue for many years.  Alarming statistics are always reported in the media, such as hospitals throwing away a quarter of their food, some 82,000 meals, which was featured in the Guardian in 2013.
 
However, moves are afoot to improve the situation, with the Hospital Caterers Association signing up to the WRAP Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement (HaFSA), an initiative supported by ACM.  HaFSA is a voluntary agreement to support the hospitality and food service sector in reducing waste and recycling more.  Any organisation that is involved in food service, including the NHS, can become involved.
 

Why is there so much food waste in hospitals?

 
Much of the food waste in hospitals is reported to come from poor quality food, or the provision of food unsuitable for those in a hospital environment.  PCT's across the country are striving to improve the quality and type of food on offer which should improve matters.
 
Once the volume of food waste is reduced, effective waste management in hospitals is required to ensure any waste there is is disposed of in the most environmentally-sound, and cost effective way.

WHy should we reduce food waste in hospitals?

  • Disposing of food waste can be very costly
  • Methane (greenhouse gas) production from rotting food
  • Food waste adds to unsustainable landfill

How to reduce food waste in hospitals?

Although it is virtually impossible to eradicate food waste completely in an environment such as a hospital, there are measures that can be taken to dramatically reduce the amount of food waste produced:

  • monitor and adjust portion sizes
  • improve food quality
  • increase the choice of food available
  • give thought to the sort of food people who are in hospital might enjoy
The NHS Estates Hospitality team have produced the Guidelines for meals in hospitals - these can be found here 

Options for food waste management in hospitals?

With advances in technology for waste management in hospitals it is no longer necessary to send food waste to landfill.  Like any organisation, food waste can be:

  • Composted
  • Turned into Pig food
  • Processed to become a Bio-fuel
 
ACM Environmental prides itself on being able to help any organisation to dramatically reduce the waste they send to landfill while at the same time reducing the cost of their waste and recycling operation and the NHS is no exception.  ACM can deal with all waste streams produced including clinical and hazardous as well as cardboard, paper, plastic - often being able to generate rebates for these items that we pass back to the client.  We look after the disposal of food waste for many of our clients and can arrange for food waste to be disposed of as efficiently as possible - be that through food collections, composting, or by processing into a bio-fuel to generate power, either by installation of a bio-mass boiler onsite or by removal to a large, state of the art facility.  Call us to discuss your needs - 08700 777555

 

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