Hospital Food Waste: Contributing Factors of Waste Generation and Strategy for Waste Minimization

Sri Umami Parlina (1), Sunil Herat (2)
(1) Master Student, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, Queensland 4111, Australia, Australia,
(2) Assoc. Professor, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, Queensland 4111, Australia, Australia


The rapid and concerning increase in global food waste has garnered much attention due to its profound social, economic, and environmental ramifications worldwide. Healthcare facilities significantly influence the food chain because of their considerable resource consumption, waste generation, and procurement capabilities. Furthermore, insufficient waste management procedures can have significant ecological repercussions, predominantly due to the carbon emissions generated while disposing of healthcare waste, which also encompasses food waste. The matter of food waste in hospital food services is a complex and multifaceted problem, influenced by a multitude of factors. Conversely, endeavors to mitigate food waste within hospital settings encountered substantial obstacles. The challenges encountered pertain to every facet of hospital services through the emphasis on sustainability. This literature review aims to examine the literature on hospital food waste and identify the gaps in the existing resources that concentrate on the factors that lead to food waste being produced in healthcare facilities and the possible solutions to this problem. The findings point to the contributing factors of hospital food waste, including food quality and quantity, patient satisfaction, patient characteristics and clinical condition, meal times and food from outside, and the environment surrounding the hospital. It also indicates that implementing strategies such as improving the food delivery system, design of the menu, implementing room service model, improving food quality and the presentation of the meal, recruiting food dietitians, improving the dining environment as well as promoting reuse, recycling, composting, and anaerobic digestion can all help reduce food waste. Since food waste generation is context-specific, study outcomes may vary. Therefore, reduction strategies may vary by circumstance. Future research requires more advanced analytical methodologies and specific study designs, time frames, and locations.

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Sri Umami Parlina
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Sunil Herat
Parlina, S. U., & Herat, S. (2024). Hospital Food Waste: Contributing Factors of Waste Generation and Strategy for Waste Minimization. Environmental Science & Sustainable Development, 9(1), 57–71.

Article Details

Received 2023-12-24
Accepted 2024-01-08
Published 2024-03-31