Waste Prevention Toolkit – helping hospitals to cut food waste

WRAP’s waste prevention Toolkit is designed to help hospitals cut costs by reducing food waste.  Guidance and advice is provided on the following:

  • Measuring waste and determining how much this costs the hospital;
  • Identifying the root causes of wastage and opportunities to reduce it and the associated costs;
  • Prioritising actions and improvements to food provision;
  • How catering, nursing and dietetic staff can work collectively to make these improvements.

Food waste prevention offers a real opportunity for hospitals to make financial and environmental savings, and improve the catering service they provide to patients. 

WRAP has delivered a pilot mentoring project to hospitals in Wales, providing hospitals with one-to-one support to reduce food waste.  The Hospital Caterers Association (HCA)/WRAP Food Waste Reduction in the Healthcare sector screencasts  were the foundation for this project.  It supplements the information in the existing screencasts, and is designed to help hospitals review their own service and to identify solutions to reduce avoidable food waste.

The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 also presents another driver for change, with hospitals in Wales soon likely to be unable to dispose of food waste to sewer. 

Challenging the way the catering service is delivered and utilising the combined experiences of catering, nursing and dietitian teams (“the Power of 3”) can identify waste prevention opportunities.   This can include behavioural changes such as avoiding the preparation of ‘just in case meals’ or more fundamental changes such as revising a menu or the food ordering system. 

By reducing the amount of food that is wasted and ultimately disposed of, savings can be made through the avoided purchase of ingredients or meals, lower kitchen utility bills (i.e. gas, electricity and water consumption), more efficient use of staff time and lower waste disposal costs. 

This Toolkit consists of the following elements:
A. Healthcare: Five steps to reduce food waste;
B. Healthcare: Checklist of root causes for waste and solutions;
C. Healthcare: Solutions to common food waste issues;
D. Training and communication ideas for engaging with hospital staff – you can easily tailor this presentation to suit your needs
E. Examples of action plans developed as part of WRAP’s one-to-one support with Health Boards in Wales.