Food and Nutrition Composting

3rd Floor “Pulper”

As part of the remodeling of the 3rd floor of OHSU Hospital (South), a "pulper" was installed. This piece of equipment is similar to a garbage disposal, except it is larger, bolted down and the food gets ground into a "pulp" instead of liquid. The excess water (up to 80%) that is used to grind up the pulp is pulled out and recirculated thus saving sewer and fresh water costs.

Since the pulper was installed Thursday 4-21-05 it is being used to dispose of food waste and paper from the patient trays. When the 3rd floor Cafe is finished we will start pulping food and paper from this location also.

The Pulp is transported to Cedar Grove Composting Inc. in Maple Valley, Washington. The compost produced at Cedar Grove is already being sold in Portland nurseries. Cedar Grove is actively looking for a site to compost food waste in the Portland Metro Area.

Kitchen and Cafeteria Scraps can be Composted

Since the kitchen composting has come online food scraps from the food production areas and the pot and pan area have been added to the total volume of food going to Cedar Grove. This change was part of the new "Portland Composts" program which started in 2007. Large producers of food waste are encouraged to separate it for composting.

Now in 2010, cafeteria's in Mackenzie Hall and OHSU Hospital South (3rd Floor) have begun a composting program that allows customers of these cafeteria's to participate in composting their leftover food and other compostable products.  In these cafeteria's, when you go to dispose of your waste, be sure to put all compostable material into the appropriate container.
Environmental Services estimates that trash from the kitchen/cafeteria accounts for 1/8th of the total at Dock 5. Now that the diversion is complete the portion from the kitchen is be down by 50%.

The composting program accepts food waste, food soiled paper, other organics, small pieces of wood, and waxed cardboard. All of these have ended up either in the garbage disposal or hauled off to the landfill.  Portland Composts is a small, but significant step in getting the entire city up to it's 60% recycling goal.
OHSU was the first hospital in Portland to join the composting program. We are starting off small and will add small pieces as we can. Does it save money?  It sure can.  The more we compost the closer we get to seeing a savings.  Once savings are reached, the more we compost the more we save.  As of Spring 2010, the South Hospital composting program is seeing a savings, which the Mackenzie Hall program is not.  There is also the "feel-good" part knowing that you are doing something that is environmentally friendly.