Commentary: Food for Thought - Hospitals Must do More to End Their Wasteful Ways

[Modern Healthcare] In the busy healthcare environment, opportunities for interventions to improve operations and processes far outnumber the number of hours in a day.

The 80/20 rule demands that projects with the greatest impact that require the least effort be implemented. Sustainability activities that feed into strategic goals offer the greatest opportunity for success.

Let me serve one up for you—1 in 7 people living in the U.S. is food insecure, meaning 1 in 7 people is hungry or at risk of being hungry. American consumers, businesses and farms spend $218 billion per year growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten. Some 30% to 40% of all food grown in the U.S. is wasted.

Where do hospitals fit into this picture? Hospitals generate nearly 30 pounds of total waste per bed per day, and many states estimate between 10% and 15% of it is food waste (that's roughly 3 pounds per bed per day). Expired foods, overproduction, returned patient trays and poor preparation practices can all lead to excessive waste. That means opportunities for improvement and significant cost savings...(Continue reading.)