Earth Consultants

Applying Lean Six Sigma to the Environment

Lean Six Sigma and Wasted Food Workshop Series – Portland, Oregon 2017-2018

Lean Startups for Social Change Webinar on April 11th, 2019

The following series of workshops was developed with Kjell van Zoen and Lean Portland to assist with improvement efforts to reduce wasted food.

Wasted food is one of the worst types of waste we have as a society. We spend significant resources and generate tons of carbon emissions to grow, transport and prepare food for consumption, yet it often doesn’t get eaten. Instead of donating that food to someone in need, we often throw it away in the landfill, where it decays without oxygen, and turns into methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, further contributing to climate change.

If we can reduce wasted food, or better allocate our food to those in need, or compost it for soil, we can reduce hunger challenges and minimize our impact on the environment!

That is why I offered to develop a series of training classes, to show how Lean and Six Sigma concepts can assist in these efforts to reduce wasted food.

I explain more about the background of this workshop series in my podcast episode #20

Workshop #1 (April 2017, 75 mins)

  • Overview of Lean and Six Sigma concepts
  • Video exercise on the 8 forms of waste and how these wastes impact the environment
  • Case studies on food delivery and waste reduction
  • How these concepts align within an organization’s sustainability program.

YouTube Video | Podcast Episode | PPT Slides

Workshop #2 (Oct 2017, 60 mins)

  • Review last workshop
  • Discuss project charter form and A3 template
  • Split into groups for working session
  • Work on defining a problem from one of the group members
  • Work on developing a measurement plan around that problem

YouTube Video | PPT Slides

Workshop #3 (July 2018, 119 mins)

  • Intros and Agenda
  • Measure and Analyze tools
  • Worldwide Fruit Limited Continuous Improvement video
  • Measure Tools
  • Analyze Tools
    • Data Analysis
    • 5 Why’s and Fishbone Diagrams
  • Working session and Q&A

YouTube Video | PPT Slides

Workshop #4 (Nov 30, 2018)

YouTube Video | PPT Slides


During some of the videos, you heard about the work done in Washington County. Here are some videos about their efforts around wasted food. Below are some great suggestions from LeanPath’s Robb White about the 15 food waste fighting questions you need to ask your kitchen right now, based on years of experience. To summarize, he mentions overproduction (using production sheets and repurposing food), expiration date tracking person, trim waste tracking and knife skills, equipment failure (freezers and fridges not working), and monitoring incoming food quality.

Here is another article and video about LeanPath’s work to prevent food waste at Google and another article summarizing their work.

More articles

More videos


Using Lean Tools in Food Businesses during COVID-19 from Oregon Tilth

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about this workshop, or would like assistance in reducing your wasted food in your community or organization!

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