By Kaitlin Haskins, Communications Manager (outgoing)

Posted November 18, 2015

Case Studies

Case Study: Boston College

Boston College Reduces Food Waste by 60% in 12 Months

On November 18th, LeanPath and Boston College co-hosted a case study webinar on preventing food waste at Boston College in Massachusetts. For reference, Boston College currently sources 28% of their dining purchases from local growers and producers. They also participate in Real Food Challenge and prioritize sustainability.

In the fall of 2014, Boston College launched the LeanPath 360 program for food waste prevention at Corcoran Dining Hall to benchmark their food waste. By working with LeanPath, they significantly reduced the amount of food waste generated by their food service program.

From October 2014 to October 2015, Boston College reduced their food waste by a whopping 59.95%, avoided 49 tons of food waste, and paid off their investment in the LeanPath program in under a year. The program provides a suite of technology that includes a scale with a built-in camera and related software, along with consulting and other services. 

What is the food waste problem?

Did you realize that 1/3 of all food produced on Earth is wasted? It's worse in the US: we waste 40% of our food. There are two types of food waste in food service: pre-consumer (kitchen waste) and post-consumer (plate waste). An both types of food waste cost a lot of money!

How do we solve the food waste problem?

  • Reduce waste at the source
  • Feed hungry people
  • Feed animals
  • Reuse for industrial purposes
  • Compost

Why should we reduce food waste? 

  • Cut down on food costs
  • Reduce your environmental impact
  • Make food available to people in need
  • Improve your food service team culture

What can we learn from Boston College?

  • Engage your staff in finding creative solutions for reducing food waste -- try friendly competitions and empower them to make a difference
  • Identify one staffer (ex: lead cook) to be the point person at the food waste scale -- they determine what food can be repurposed or donated before composting or throwing out the rest
  • Downsize to smaller serving pans, especially in the salad bar
  • Take photos of your food waste -- the LeanPath technology makes this easy
  • Remind your staff at the beginning of each shift to make food waste reduction a priority
  • ​Weighing your food waste raises awareness

How can you reduce food waste at your institution?

Start by evaluating your food waste alongside other indicators such as customer satisfaction and cost savings. Try measuring your food waste and engaging your front-line food service workers. 

To learn more about LeanPath, visit or contact Andrew Shakman at [email protected]. To connect with Boston College Dining, contact Megan O'Neill at [email protected] or Sean Canny at [email protected]