Oregon State receives grant to reduce university food waste

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management program has awarded Oregon State University with a $27,372 grant. All to help the university reduce food waste by 10 percent at its Corvallis campus.

The money will also be used to institute a new computer program in the dining halls called LeanPath.

As I have
written before:

With the current situation of the environment today, it’s only ideal for everyone to start contributing in efforts to save it. There have been a lot of campaigns about save the earth, such as using less plastic or recycling plastic bottles. Food recycling is another way to conserve resources. It’s a natural way to turn food waste into usable products. Food waste includes all the edible and non-edible parts of food, including partially digested leftovers, spoiled fruits or vegetables, and animal products such as milk, cheese, or other dairy products.

There are various kinds of recycling programs that can be carried out to turn waste food into valuable and eco-friendly products such as fertilizer, vegetable oil, biodiesel, and paper. Recycling programs are also being undertaken by many governments, private, and non-profit organizations to reduce and manage food waste.

The system uses cutting-edge technology to track food waste by amount, type, cause and cost.

The information can be used by staff to pinpoint where to make adjustments and prevent future waste.

Portland-based LeanPath created technology for commercial kitchens including scales, cameras and a touchscreen user interface. LeanPath is used in universities, on cruise ships, and at other large scale operations. Data reveals where the company should adjust purchasing, production, menus and staff training to prevent waste in the future.

Chris Anderson with University Housing & Dining Services (UHDS) said it’s difficult to currently measure the university’s level of food waste from dining halls. However he estimates it to be between 200,000 and 250,000 pounds annually. The new technology is also expected to allow UHDS to decrease expenditures on food purchases. Also to reduce pick-ups of  organic waste by Republic Service. Finally and reduce food donations to Linn-Benton Food Rescue.

In addition, Anderson said LeanPath will provide staff with a mechanism to weigh, photograph and report on all wasted food.

So LeanPath provides a tool to be able to pull reports and visuals. All that demonstrates wasted food very locally. Also they like by each food-service platform per dining center. Especially in units that can be equalized. For that’s so administrators and managers are able to evaluate and generate efficiencies through menu adjustments. As well as operational changes.

The equipment should be implemented by July 2018.

In conclusion, UHDS has worked towards reducing wasted food for decades. Among the changes to the traditional dining hall model were moving to an ala carte pricing structure. One that encourages customers to take what they intend to consume. Thereby providing tray-less service when applicable. So partnering with the Linn-Benton Food Rescue and encouraging staff to cook items on demand. Anderson believes LeanPath will be a further step in that effort.

12-12-17

By: Theresa Hogue, 541-737-0786; theresa.hogue@oregonstate.edu

Source: Christopher Anderson, 541-737-2885; chris.anderson@oregonstate.edu

This release is available at: http://bit.ly/2jCNV7L

Photo available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/3587343666/