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The Oregon State University Sustainability Blog

Oregon State receives grant to reduce university food waste

January 6th, 2018

Oregon State University has been awarded $27,372 from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management program to help the university reduce food waste.

This money will be used to incorporate LeanPath into the dining hall systems, tracking food waste by amount, type, cause, & cost, and allowing staff to make adjustments to prevent waste in the future. Currently, it is estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 pounds of food waste are generated annually from halls. The hope is that LeanPath will raise awareness for how much food is wasted and generate opportunities to lessen OSU’s impact.

Founded in 2004, Portland-based LeanPath created technology for commercial kitchens (including scales, cameras and a touchscreen user interface) in order to fulfill their mission statement – to end avoidable food waste in our world. They promote food waste as one of society’s most pressing challenges, not only contributing to global hunger and environmental harm, but providing a financial barrier to food service organizations. 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.

LeanPath has a simple recipe for avoiding food waste:

  • Measure: Tracking food waste with LeanPath’s scale and camera
  • Analyze: Looking at what food is wasted and the financial impact of this waste on the University
  • Optimize: Create food waste goals to strive for with the assistance of reccommendations
  • Empower: Inspire to minimize food waste over time

Read more about LeanPath and its incorporation into OSU here: http://bit.ly/2jCNV7L

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