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.