Updated 12/24/2012 05:00 AM
Going Green: Food waste
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This is Upstate Medical University, home to some 9,000 employees and about 450 patients everyday which means a lot of food is produced everyday and that generates a lot of waste.
“Sometimes it might be food that’s gone stale or out of code but most of the time it’s disposed of as part of the preparation,” said Jason Rupert, University Hospital Environmental Services Supervisor.
But waste such as fat trimmed from meat or the peelings from potatoes and vegetables are no longer going to waste.
Rupert said, “Before the composting took place they would just dispose of that in the garbage. It would go out with any other trash that they were producing. Now they’re setting it aside in specially designated containers with a compostable food bag and that waste is separated and it goes to a different dumpster out on our back dock and it’s sent to the compost facility.”
And that would be the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency. Since there’s very little extra effort involved, composting hasn’t added any expense making it easier for everyone to participate.
“Everybody was more than willing to participate. Morrison’s was a big advocate of this from the moment we talked about it and we talked with the coffee shops Express Oasis that’s in our main lobby and also Tim Horton’s that operates in the Children’s Hospital. They were all quick to jump on board. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and they all saw value in it right from the beginning,” said Rupert.
Morrison Healthcare Food Services is the major food vendor for the hospital.
The goal is to double the amount of food waste that’s being composted.
“Well, right now we’re composting around 500 pounds a week of food waste, so we’re doing about two tons a month. We’re looking to identify other waste, food waste and we’re hoping to do 50 tons a year. That’s our goal right now,” said Rupert.