Jersey hospital saves on food waste with in-house digester & cooking oil taker

The hospital also uses electronic medical records and biodegradable cups and plates to go green.

Oct. 28—Food waste at Hackensack University Medical Center doesn’t go to a landfill.

Almost all of the food that patients or people eating in the cafeteria don’t eat is rolled on a cart to a stainless steel box in the corner of the hospital kitchen.

The staff opens a panel on the machine, unleashing a putrid smell, and dumps the food inside. Inside, there are woodchips and about two pounds of liquidy substance filled with four strains of micro-organisms.

The organisms digest the food at a rate of almost 100 pounds an hour, Ken Vervoordt, operations manager for Hackensack University Medical Center, said. Unlike human digestion, the end result is basically water, which goes right into the drainage system.