Waste Reduction—Landscaping and Food Waste

Waste reduction methods for landscaping and food wastes are listed below,
along with some applicable references and case studies.


Appealing landscapes play an important role in attracting customers and increasing property values. Unfortunately, many landscapes are not managed efficiently. This can increase maintenance costs, waste natural resources, and pollute the environment. By utilizing sustainable landscaping practices, professional landscapers can produce beautiful landscapes while reducing maintenance costs and protecting the environment.

Landscaping wastes make up about 2% of the overall hospital solid waste stream. Listed below are suggestions for reducing the quantity of waste generated by your landscaping program.

  • A good place to start for information on environmentally responsible landscaping alternatives is the EPA's "GreenScapes" program. GreenScapes provides cost-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for landscaping. Designed to help preserve natural resources and prevent waste and pollution, GreenScapes encourages companies, government agencies, other entities, and homeowners to make more holistic decisions regarding waste generation and disposal and the associated impacts on land, water, air, and energy use.
  • Select low maintenance, slow growing plants and grasses.
  • Use mulching mowers, and leave grass clippings on the lawn so they can decompose naturally.
  • Compost landscaping wastes on- or off-site. Use compost and mulching for pest reduction
  • Reduce or eliminate plastic silt fencing and substitute with blankets, berms, and filtersocks made of compost for erosion control.
  • Switch from pressure-treated wood to plastic lumber for decks, benches, and signs.
  • Return wooden pallets and other shipping materials to your supplier whenever possible.
  • When replacing an existing hardscape or structure, deconstruct, reuse and recycle all possible materials such as metal, wood, shingles, concrete, and pavement.
  • Minimize site and soil disruptions to the maximum extent possible.
  • Cluster structures to maximize open space.
  • Minimize turf grass and paved areas - keep as much natural area as possible.
  • Landscape using plants that grow slowly or have enough space so they do not need to be constantly trimmed.

Food Wastes

Food wastes make up about 10% of the overall hospital solid waste stream. This section provides information and resources to help reduce food waste and save money on disposal costs.

For pollution prevention ideas for non-food cafeteria wastes, see Solid Waste Reduction for Cafeterias.

Listed below are suggestions for reducing the quantity of food waste generated by your hospital cafeteria:

  • Avoid preparing excessive amounts of food and garnishes.
  • Donate excess food to charitable organizations.
  • Consider on or off-site composting programs, for vegetative food wastes. Consider working with other local businesses in your area to combine composting efforts to reduce costs.
  • Consider giving food waste to farmers as feed stock. Be sure that meat and other animal products are not used in feed stock. Check with your County Health Department for guidelines.

©2015 Healthcare Environmental Resource Center