In 2021, the United Nations estimated that global food waste was 931 million tonnes of food waste (about 120 kg per capita), and about a third of the world's food was thrown away1. This number is quite significant, as food waste accounted for more greenhouse gas emissions than any single country’s emission per year, except for China and the United States. In the U.S., there are over 100 billion pounds of food wasted per year2. Reducing food waste is crucial, especially in large institutions such as hospitals, because it may bring substantial environmental (climate change) and economic benefits. In healthcare, reducing food waste is essential, as it is estimated that 0.23 kg is wasted per meal served in a hospital3. Most food waste in a hospital is thrown away to landfills (85%), while food that is recycled or composted is a fraction of the waste. Reducing the amount and redirecting waste to composting are both valuable steps because they not only reduce a hospital's cost of food production and waste management but also facilitate reaching environmental and sustainability goals.
“There was a time, a patient ordered six popsicles when really only one was eaten and the other five melted, and this is because they know that they are not paying for it”
Our project would not have been possible without the assistance of many passionate individuals. We thank Iris Liu, Dale Decarli, Suzanne Fredericks, and Lyn Salsgiver from Yale New Haven Hospital for their assistance in the project implementation, teaching fellow Weixi Wu, and professor Dr. Debbie Humphries from Yale School of Public Health for their assistance with project design and continued guidance