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A recent article from Vizient clarified the terms used when talking about sustainability in the food industry.  If Food Service Directors in healthcare want to make sustainability a priority, there are a number of equipment options that will lessen the environmental impact of their kitchens and cafes. Instead of starting with the preparation and delivery of food, we’re going to start where it ends - unused food and waste. Although it may not be the obvious focus, the costs of food disposal can significantly impact water, energy, and garbage bills.  Food is one of the 3 largest sources of waste received by landfills. Not only is food waste expensive, but the methane gas released is harmful to the environment.  New regulations are being put into place to lessen the impact of food service operations, and almost all operators will be tasked to change their food waste systems to minimize their environmental footprint.What equipment options are available to reduce the volume of food waste generated in your system?  The three main options are pulpers, dehydrators, and digesters*, and each offers a solution for diverting waste from landfills and creating reusable end products.

  • Pulpers: One of the simpler methods of reducing food waste volume is to mechanically grind it and remove as much water as possible.  This can be accomplished with a pulper/extractor system. Pulping reduces the volume of waste by 85-95% and can ultimately be composted. If organic waste recycling is an option in your location, a waste pulper may be the best option for you.
  • Digester System: A digester/biodigester is a machine that accelerates the decomposition process and turns it into a neutral liquefied substance that can then be put down a drain into a sewer system.  There are different types of digesters, but they all perform the same relative task of quickly decomposing waste for safe disposal.
  • Dehydrators: As the name implies, a dehydrator evaporates moisture from the food waste and renders it into a sterilized feedstock for composting or as an ideal soil amendment (after further processing).  Waste that is processed in a dehydrator is reduced in weight and volume by 90-95% and is completely odorless.

OpenMarkets is a marketplace for hospital equipment, and users from nearly 300 hospitals use the OpenMarkets Exchange to discover and buy products every day.  Over the past few months, Supply Chain directors have been using OpenMarkets to source food service equipment and we have expanded our capabilities to support this sector of the market.  For equipment quotes and product information from distributors like MPM Food Equipment Group, sign up to receive Exchange credentials at

*Be sure to check with your municipality to understand local regulations regarding food waste disposal, sewage disposal, and water usage before making your choice.

Tom Derrick

Tom leads a range of core functions for OpenMarkets, including strategic partnerships and marketing. Prior to OpenMarkets, Tom served as a senior communications director for... More about Tom Derrick