Environmental impact of food waste

Food waste has environmental impacts and contributes to:

  • land and soil being degraded
  • water pollution
  • resources being used faster than being replaced
  • climate change

Encouraging patients to eat their food can lead to improved nutritional care and less food waste.

The Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy sets a target for Ireland to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.

Remember: if you haven’t measured it, you can't manage it.

Measuring, monitoring and benchmarking waste in healthcare facilities

Food waste composting

Managers should ensure that healthcare sites have a food waste composting system and a brown food waste bins. This allows for the correct disposal of compostable catering items.

To introduce a food waste composting system, contact the Office of Government Procurement (OGP).

Related Topic

Food Waste Reduction Training
Online training on healthcare specific food waste good practices is now available on HSELanD.


Best practice guidance

Best Practice on Food Waste Reduction (PDF, 3.82MB, 6 pages)

Check the bin label posters (PDF, 2.29 KB, 3 pages)

New Bin Stickers (PDF, 1.7 MB, 3 pages)

Do no harm poster (PDF, 173 KB, 1 page)

It's worth every effort poster (PDF, 1.89 MB, 1 page)

It's worth every effort 2 poster (PDF, 1.51 MB, 1 page)

It's worth every effort 3 poster (PDF. 2.62 MB, 1 page)

The whole thing is in our hands poster (PDF, 1.39 MB, 1 page)

Fact sheet

Factsheet on food waste in Irish hospitals (PDF, 2MB, 4 pages)

Case studies

Mayo General Hospital: food waste prevention (PDF, 1MB, 3 pages)

St. Michael’s Hospital: food waste prevention programme overview (PDF, 1.49MB, 3 pages)

Waste and Sustainability Officers

There are 5 regional Waste & Sustainability Officers who are available to provide support and guidance to larger healthcare facilities in the area of Food Waste Reduction.


Waste & Sustainability Officer – Dublin Mid Leinster

Ken Hyland



Waste & Sustainability Officer – HSE West

Ruairi Keane



Waste & Sustainability Officer – Dublin North East

Robert Sweeney



Waste & Sustainability Officer – HSE South

Aileen Fitzgerald



Environmental Services Officer -  HSE South East

Martina Hunt