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

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Ideas and Innovation
fsd screenshot web

A full year has passed since we redesigned FoodService Director magazine, taking the publication from its longtime tabloid dimensions to a more convenient size and more creative design, and recasting the content to provide actionable, peer-to-peer insights and ideas for FSDs.

Now we are thrilled to announce that we’ve extended the makeover to our website as well. The new FoodServiceDirector.com has been redesigned to be more engaging and even easier to use. We’ve made it faster to find information, from recipes to HR best practices, that will help you run your facility better....

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

FSD Resources