Campus food waste tracking shows dramatic reduction in kitchen waste

From Green Right Now Reports

Sodexo employees at eight college campuses cut kitchen waste by about one third, simply by tracking and monitoring food waste, according to the preliminary findings from the first eight weeks of a pilot study that is part of the company’s initiative to stop wasting food to curb climate change and improve business practices.

Sodexo partnered with LeanPath, a technology company providing food waste tracking systems, to conduct the review. The pilot study focuses on kitchen – or pre-consumer – waste, not what customers throw out. The pilot study system features a tracking station where Sodexo employees enter data about what they are throwing out and why. By tracking the reason for throwing away items, Sodexo said it is able to correct the problem to prevent future food waste. Sodexo employees at those eight sites have dramatically reduced overproduction, spoilage, expiration and trimmings by participating in the pilot study.

LeanPath estimates that 4 to 10 percent of the food that is purchased ends up in kitchen waste. Each participating site in the Sodexo pilot also has a Stop Waste Action Team (SWAT) composed of employees. This group reviews the waste tracking data, sets specific goals for improvement, and tests waste prevention ideas. The most effective ideas become permanent.

In September, Sodexo launched “Stop Wasting Food“, a campaign to engage its customers and employees in reducing food waste to curb climate change.

Americans trash 25 percent of all the food they prepare each year, leading to 31 million tons of wasted food piling up in landfills annually. Food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which is at least 21 times more potent than carbon. Methane breaks down the ozone layer and leads to climate change.

Sodexo pilot study results come from a program initiated in early September at eight college campuses across the country to analyze and measure kitchen waste in an effort to better manage it. Colleges participating in the waste-reduction pilot program include Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; California State University of Monterey Bay in Seaside, Calif.; Juniata College in Huntingdon, Penn.; Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore.; Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.; University of California at Davis, Calif.,  and University of Wisconsin in River Falls, Wis.

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