Composting landscape and food waste is a viable waste reduction strategy for many hospital and health systems. Long-term benefits of compost programs for hospitals might include:

  • Reduces incineration or landfill disposal costs for dense and heavy landscape and food scraps
  • Avoids costly extra water discharges from wastewater treatment due to food waste sludge created by industrial food disposal systems.
  • Saves landscaping budget by increasing water retention, aeration, and soil nutrients, which reduces mulch, fertilizers, and pesticide purchases.
  • Unneeded compost can potentially be sold or shared with other organizations in the community.

Starting a composting program

Our members have identified several steps for hospitals when thinking about composting:

  • Consider donating food to food banks or shelters as a primary disposal method before food becomes waste
  • Understand local health department regulations for compost and research composting methods
  • Identify end users before deciding on a composting method
  • Educate and engage employees when starting a food waste composting plan

Practice Greenhealth offers resources and peer-to-peer networking to help members assess the best ways to implement both on-site or off-site compost programs and investigate other ways to reuse and recycle food waste, including food digestion and animal feeding.

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