Minneapolis hospital increases recycling, composting efforts

Dec. 7—The 471-bed Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis has implemented source separate organics (SSO) recycling, which includes composting food and soiled paper waste. The hospital currently recycles 622 tons of cardboard, cans, paper and plastics each year. The hospital said the new SSO recycling would add 100 tons of organic waste to the hospital’s recycling efforts.

Hennepin’s food and nutrition services department separates food scraps and soiled paper from other kitchen waste, which is then recycled at a local composting site. The compost is then used in landscaping and road construction projects.

“By signing the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge earlier this year, we committed to helping the environment and our community,” said Bill Marks, director of food and nutrition services for Sodexo, the hospital’s foodservice provider. “Composting is another benefit we bring to the [hospital] along with our organic rooftop garden and elimination of trans fats from our menu.”

Marks said composting would save the department money by reducing waste and sewage costs. In addition, he said more than 1 million gallons of water a year will be saved by decreasing the use of the garbage disposal.