One of the companies that CERO is lucky to work with is Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge. Spaulding Hospital offers the “unique ability to meet the complex needs of you, our patients, through medical and rehabilitative care”. With their rehabilitation program, they are committed to giving people hope and care throughout their individual journey. As can be imagined, hospitals tend to generate a large portion of food waste which has traditionally been mixed in with the rest of the trash for incineration. Spaulding Hospital has been composting for a few years now and decided to work with CERO to not only meet their composting needs but also continue giving the community at large hope through environmental stewardship. We wanted to see how their experience with CERO has been, so we decided to interview Thomas Cappuccio, Senior Director of Support Services at Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge.
How did you hear about CERO?
CERO was not a partner’s approved vendor at first but we were contacted by Maya Gaul, the sales team leader at CERO. One on one marketing from Maya made the deal happen.
Also, freshly cleaned bins were a plus. Maya met with us in January 2017 and the first bins went out shortly after to implement the program.
How were you disposing of food waste before you started working with CERO?
Spaulding Cambridge Hospital had been composting for a while. They had already composted for 5 years but had a different system set up. We worked with Save That Stuff for a few years, but more in the summertime. On a number of occasions with composting at STS, sanitation issues became an issue (pests, odor, food being left out, etc.). We think CERO is more sanitary and hands-on [for prevention] which provides a better service. They are great when it comes to cleaning, washing bins and other services they commit to. Maya has been great training the staff to compost. I think it’s a good partnership.
*CERO provides free, multilingual employee training for your whole team, so things run smoothly from Day 1.*
How much food waste does the hospital generate per week? Where does it come from - cafeteria, shops, etc?
Food waste is cafeteria food waste such as scraps, leftovers, etc. There is a 50/50 percentage between patient food and cafeteria food. On average, it is 3,000 pounds a month. The patient’s food needs to fit into their particular diet but at the end of the day it all goes to the same place: compost at local farms.
Has working with CERO positively impacted your budget? Why?
We think CERO is a little less expensive; budget-neutral. It is cheaper than not composting at all, since then food waste would be going out with the regular trash, which is more expensive to dispose of.
Have you made other efforts to increase sustainable practices in your business?
Spaulding hospital does single-stream recycling throughout the hospital. Cans, bottles, cardboard, paper, grease, batteries, ink cartridges are all included. We are proud to have eliminated styrofoam from the cafeteria for the past year now. Also, we have a partnership with MassRIDES to promote more biking and commuting options.
What areas have you found it difficult to be environmentally sustainable?
It’s an older building, so systems aren’t as efficient but sustainable appliances have been worked on such as lighting and heating/cooling modifications.
What do you like most about working with CERO? What do you wish could be different?
The service is pretty standard and I’m happy with it.I haven’t had an issue at all. There is never any surprises that comes across my desk or that my employees bring up to me. In that way, it’s great. It’s pretty seamless. Maya’s been great to work with. I haven’t had any kind of issue with CERO not showing up.
One initial issue was the Spaulding staff was overfilling the totes too much, and Maya asked if they could fill it up ¾ of the way. Quick communication helped to solve that problem and it never happened again.
Has working with CERO caused any changes at the hospital that you wouldn't have expected?
Not at all, but not in a bad way. Again, it’s pretty seamless.
Interview by: Olivia Hart