Food Waste

The GHCP carried out 27 detailed food waste surveys in both acute hospitals and PCCC facilities to determine the type and quantity of food waste generated in Irish healthcare facilities.

The surveys recorded the quantity and type of food that was provided to patients, disposed of as waste, and by correlation eaten by patients. This allows an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the food delivery system. The surveys of food waste in hospitals in the Green Healthcare programme have identified significant opportunities for waste prevention.

Some highlights of the food waste surveys and analysis by GHCP (more details in the Factsheet and Guides below):

1. Between 37% and 49% of the food provided to patients in hospitals is not eaten. This is shown in the graphic below (click to enlarge):

Food Waste Booklet 2-1

2. An average acute hospital generates approximately 0.73kg food waste per patient bed day. On average, food costs about €2 per kg.  The value of food waste can be seen in the graph below (click to enlarge):

3. The cost of food waste in all Irish facilities (when factored up) ranges from €4.4 million to €7.2 million per annum.

As well as providing all these hospitals with specific guidance on how to reduce their own food waste and save money, GHCP has also published some detailed Guides and Factsheets on food waste prevention in hospitals, as follows:

Factsheet on Food Waste in Irish Hospitals

Benchmarks for hospitals to rate themselves with regard to waste

Best Practice Guide on Food Waste Reduction

How-To Assess Overall Food Waste

How-To Undertake a Detailed Food Waste Survey – Plated System

How-To Undertake a Detailed Food Waste Survey – Bulk System

How-To Undertake a Detailed Food Waste Survey – food waste calculator

Case Study Mayo General Hospital: Food Waste Prevention in Mayo General Hospital

Case Study Temple Street Childeren’s University Hospital: Food Waste Minimisation Programme

Case Study St. Michael’s Hospital: Food Waste Prevention Programme

Case Study University Hospital Galway: Food Waste Prevention Programme

Waste bin sign – Organic waste

Best Practice
How-To Guides
Showing hospital staff how to implement waste prevention
Best Practice Guides
Step by step approaches to best practice in hospitals
Useful information on different waste streams in hospitals