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Investment needed for Scottish hospital food waste collections

A study into separating and treating food waste from Scottish hospitals, published by Resource Efficient Scotland (RES), has called for more co-ordinated collection services.

Waste (Scotland) Regulations require health boards to separate hospital food waste for recycling from January 2016 (in non-rural areas).

The majority of hospital food waste is currently disposed of by sink macerators into sewers or general waste collections.

The report produced in partnership with Health Facilities Scotland, claims that collaborative investment in new systems and collections services could be the best method of meeting the regulatory requirements.

The Organic Resource Agency (ORA) surveyed 33 hospitals across six Board areas to determine the potential impacts and benefits that could result from changing food waste disposal to food waste collection or onsite treatment solutions.

The report highlighted benefits from:

  • co-ordinating waste collection services within Boards
  • centralised purchasing of technology for multiple sites
  • collaborating with other NHS boards
  • collaborating with other public and commercial organisations for the collection of food waste

However, the report also identified nine barriers to the introduction of food waste collection and treatment schemes:

  • the scale and complexity of the NHS Scotland
  • variation between hospitals within and across adjacent Board areas
  • variability in the layout and physical structure of hospital sites
  • variability in the amount of food waste that hospitals generate
  • location of the hospitals
  • anticipated working life of a hospital
  • availability of data on issues relating to the management of food waste
  • understanding how the costs interrelate for specific sites, or groups of hospitals
  • the cost associated with the installation and operation of new waste systems

The report is complemented by a food waste calculator tool (see file right), which can be used by all hospitals in Scotland to identify the financial implications of changing food waste management practices.

Marissa Lippiatt, head of RES said: “The report and calculator together provide comprehensive guidance for health boards in Scotland to help them take practical action to improve their food waste management.”

John Green, chair of Health Facilities Scotland’s national Waste Management Steering Group said: “Boards have actively engaged in and welcome the food waste calculator tool and this report which, in addition to further advice and support from RES and contractors, will be invaluable in further assisting their preparations for compliance.”

RES is funded by the Scottish Government and run by Zero Waste Scotland.

Related files

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