Veterans Affairs focuses on cutting food waste

Pilot programs for composting and recycling fryer oil help reach waste goals.

Feb. 15—The Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) of the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to decrease its waste by nearly 600,000 pounds in 2012. Recycling, composting and recycling cooking oil are just a few of the initiatives that will help the department reach that goal.

"VA is committed to cutting our waste in half by 2015, and these initiatives will be a big step toward achieving that goal," VCS Director Marilyn Iverson said in a press release. "Recycling and conservation benefits VA, the Veterans we serve and our environment."

VCS has partnered with Martinsburg (W.Va.) VA Medical Center's Nutrition and Food Service Group for a composting pilot program at the VCS Martinsburg Patriot Café location. The program began Dec. 19 and composts pre-consumer kitchen waste. Early results showed that the program was composting about 30 pounds of kitchen waste per week. Martinsburg VA Medical Center designed the original composting system, which received a VA Sustainability Achievement Award and a GreenGov Presidential Award in 2010. This pilot program will serve as the basis for composting procedures for future VCS Patriot Cafes, such as Patriot Cafes in West Palm Beach, Fla., San Francisco, San Diego and Palo Alto, Calif.

Recycling cooking oil is part of another pilot program to encourage sustainability in VCS Cafes. VCS has been working with Quest Recycling to recycle used cooking oil generated at the VCS's Patriot Cafes located in West Palm Beach, Fla., St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Temple, Texas. The department estimates it will be able to recycle approximately 583,000 pounds of cooking oil per year.

The pilot results will be analyzed to help spur a national roll out at 170 additional locations.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources