Hospital Food Waste

hospital-food.JPGHospital food waste is a seldom discussed issue. More than most venues, some hospital waste is unavoidable. Many patients can’t eat or don’t have an appetite, for good reason. But still, hospital room service and cafeterias create plenty of avoidable food loss.

To cut waste, some hospitals are using the ValuWaste program. The system, produced by Portland’s LeanPath, Inc. allows hospitals to understand and then reduce their waste. While hospitals are figuring out how to be more effiicient, they are hiring companies like Washington, D.C.’s Envirelation and North Carolina’s Brooks Contractor to collect and compost their food waste.

U.S. hospital waste is rarely written about, but anything budget related in Britain’s publicly-funded health system receives plenty of press attention. This story in The Guardian reports that 1 in 10 hospital plates go untouched. And according to this piece, hospital food waste increased by roughly 20 percent from 2005 to 2006.

In this article, Conservative Party MP Stephen O’Brien charges that £34 million is lost due to wasted food while there was a 13 percent increase in the number of Britons leaving the hospital malnourished. Sure, there’s some politics being played by the opposition party, but the situation reminds me of how America wastes more than $100 billion of food while more than 30 million Americans don’t have enough to eat. 


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