Ingenious Retirement Village Reduces Waste

Chef Terry Smith and Cook Kay Smith in the Ingenia Gardens kitchen.


SOME results are in for a food waste reduction program for businesses in the Coffs region, ‘Your Business Is Food’.

Ingenia Gardens Coffs Harbour, a retirement living provider, took part in the free ‘Your Business Is Food’ program for Residential Aged Care facilities and have put steps in place to reduce food waste, save money, improve service delivery and reduce their environmental impact.

The program is being delivered in the area thanks to a partnership between the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste program and MidWaste, which is made up of member Councils including Coffs Harbour City Council.

Ingenia Gardens cut the amount of food wasted each week by half, preventing almost half a tonne of organic food waste from ending up in the bin each year.

Sandra Luke, Manager of Ingenia Gardens Coffs Harbour, said the kitchen staff made simple changes that resulted in significant savings after a food waste review revealed food was being wasted during preparation and left uneaten by residents.

“We’re creatively using up leftovers in the next day’s menu, offering ‘mixed desserts’ on Wednesdays to use up extra serves, and we have reduced the number of portions cooked to better match the number of residents,” Ms Luke said.

“We have cut our food waste by 49% or 8.5kg each week and reduced our spoilage and tray waste to zero.

“This adds up to an annual cost saving of $1780.

“We’re also now capturing our food scraps such as peelings, skins and outer leaves in a compost bin so we have a great mulch to use on our gardens around the village.”

MidWaste Coordinator Ali Bigg said Ingenia Gardens is playing their part to help solve the climate crisis, as eliminating food waste has the potential to save 4.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to taking one in four cars off the road.

“It’s not just food and money being wasted, but also the time and effort of staff, and the resources that went into growing, producing, selling and transporting the food,” Ms Bigg said.

“We know it’s important for aged care businesses to provide residents with the right amount of healthy, nutritious food while running an efficient and cost-effective kitchen.

“The tailored program addresses the unique challenges faced by the aged care sector, ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents remains the key priority,” she said.


By Sandra MOON

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