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Waste Reduction Initiative at WellStar Hospitals

    By carefully tracking and measuring the waste per day in select hospitals and calculating the waste per person, we identified that hospitals are the single largest producers of food waste in the state due to the sheer abundance of people they house and care for.  Along with executives at WellStar, a nine hospital system in metro-Atlanta, I brainstormed the most effective ways to reduce this waste through a cost-benefit analysis for our various proposed solutions. 

Today, our project involves incorporating waste reduction programs in target hospitals to curtail the current levels of waste. One branch of my strategy implements compost stations for biodegrading organic food waste, allowing excess meals to contribute nutrients to soil for later use in growing crops. Another program aspect involves partnering with local organizations to redistribute discarded packaged goods, thus reallocating food waste to aid others in our community.  In addition, we are working on transitioning towards providing made-to-order meals to replace large batch cooking that is a major source of food waste. We hope to see improved results within the next year, projecting a drop in as much as 25-50% of the food waste from these hospitals, which would be a leap towards zero waste on a larger scale. 

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