During war times, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a lot on its plate – literally.
The department, which provides medical care and financial benefits to veterans and their families, also supplies meals to veterans in need through the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS).
It may not be an issue that first comes to mind when you think of the VA, but after serving food in 180 locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, food waste can take its toll. Now the government agency is seeking to reduce its impact dramatically in 2012.
The VCS estimates that it will now be able to recycle approximately 583,000 pounds of cooking oil each year, reducing the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020, the VCS says.
The cooking oil recycling program is expected to spread to 170 VCS locations at the rate of 20 per month, bringing the agency closer to its goal of reducing its waste stream by 50 percent by 2015, according to VCS.
A kitchen waste composting pilot at the VCS Martinsburg Patriot Café location in West Virginia has proven successful, composting about 30 pounds of waste per week, the VA says on its website. The Martinsburg composting idea is expected to become the standard in VA medical centers in West Palm Beach, San Diego, San Francisco and Palo Alto.
“VA is committed to cutting our waste in half by 2015, and these initiatives will be a big step toward achieving that goal,” VCS Director Marilyn Iverson says in a statement. “Recycling and conservation benefits VA, the veterans we serve and our environment.”
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