Reported by Jade Olds | bio | email | twitter

LA CROSSE, Wis. - La Crosse's two hospitals are some of the area's biggest consumers of energy and food.

Between Gundersen Lutheran and Franciscan Skemp, about 5,000 meals are served each day.

However, hundreds of pounds of food also end up in the trash.

Due to some recent changes, the amount of food waste at both facilities is declining.

Less than a year ago the kitchen at Gundersen Lutheran would throw away about 1,000 pounds of food each week.

In just six months that amount has been cut in half.

"We will save the organization up to 25,000 dollars a year," said Tom Thompson, sustainability coordinator at Gundersen Lutheran.

Many of the changes are simple.

For example, vegetables are now prepared in a way that produces less scrap waste, and a smaller amount of soup is heated at one time.

A new food tracking system allows the kitchen to identify which types of food and how much is being wasted.

That makes it easier to address problem areas.

"It's very easy to use, it's very user friendly," said Thompson.