Waste generation and carbon emissions of a hospital kitchen in the US: Potential for waste diversion and carbon reductions

Cassandra L. Thiel, Si Woon Park, Aviva A. Musicus, Jenna Agins, Jocelyn Gan, Jeffrey Held, Amy Horrocks, Marie A. Bragg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study measured the total quantity and composition of waste generated in a large, New York City (NYC) hospital kitchen over a one-day period to assess the impact of potential waste diversion strategies in potential weight of waste diverted from landfill and reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. During the one-day audit, the hospital kitchen generated 1515.15 kg (1.7 US tons) of solid waste daily or 0.23 kg of total waste per meal served. Extrapolating to all meals served in 2019, the hospital kitchen generates over 442,067 kg (487 US tons) of waste and emits approximately 294,466 kg of CO2e annually from waste disposal. Most of this waste (85%, 376,247 kg or 415 US tons annually) is currently sent to landfill. With feasible changes, including increased recycling and moderate composting, this hospital could reduce landfilled waste by 205,245 kg (226 US tons, or 55% reduction) and reduce GHG emissions by 189,025 kg CO2e (64% reduction). Given NYC's ambitious waste and GHG emission reduction targets outlined in its OneNYC strategic plan, studies analyzing composition, emissions, and waste diversion potential of large institutions can be valuable in achieving city sustainability goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0247616
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Carbon Dioxide/analysis
  • Composting/methods
  • Food Service, Hospital/organization & administration
  • Greenhouse Gases/analysis
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • New York City
  • Recycling/methods
  • Solid Waste/analysis
  • Waste Management/methods
  • Waste Products/analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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