Veterans Canteen Starts Recycling, Composting Pilot Programs

The Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) is piloting two programs it says will keep nearly 600,000 pounds of kitchen waste out of landfills in 2012.

The Washington-based branch of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a pilot cooking oil recycling program. Also, the VCS and the Martinsburg (W.Va.) VA Medical Center’s Nutrition and Food Service Group are jointly working on a composting pilot program at the VCS Martinsburg Patriot Cafelocation, the VCS said in a news release.

With the cooking oil recycling program, VCS partnered with Quest Recycling, based in Frisco, Texas, to recycle used cooking oil generated at the VCS’s Patriot Cafes located in West Palm Beach, Fla.; St. Louis; and the Texas cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Temple. The agency hopes to roll the program out nationally to 170 additional locations.

VCS estimates it can recycle approximately 583,000 pounds of cooking oil per year and also realize some safety benefits with new equipment.

The Martinsburg pilot program composted kitchen waste from the preparation of VCS food products. VCS said it was able to compost about 30 pounds of kitchen waste per week. The medical center developed the composting system, and design will be used for future cafes. VCS is now looking to develop composting pilots with VA medical centers in West Palm Beach, Fla.; and the California cities of San Francisco, San Diego and Palo Alto.

VCS employees provide retail, food and vending services at VA facilities across the country.


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