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NATIONAL REPORT—In an age when locavores rule, trash fish dinners are the new chic, and foodie tourism is trending, it is the perfect time for hotel chefs to enhance their properties’ narrative and take on the issue of food waste. What was hot and trending in 2015? Food waste reduction according to 1,300 chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Assn. The growing counter culture to food waste is so widespread the Association’s annual What’s Hot List placed food waste reduction right behind hyper local sourcing in their Top Twenty Trends. Food waste is a global problem, but 40 percent of the food produced right here in the United States goes uneaten according to a 2012 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report. Waste has been on a steady rise since 1970 when the United States wasted about 50 percent less food. So why did so many restaurant chefs choose to draw attention to food waste now? Chefs have always focused on using up product.
SAN FRANCISCO—The Hilton San Francisco Union Square has quite a win streak going. On February 17, the 1,919-room hotel hosted the Hotel Council of San Francisco’s first Stay Green Forum. The event drew 275 attendees. “Lieutenant Governor Newsom was the keynote speaker,” says Jo Licata, Community Projects Manager at the hotel. It was a great success. We had almost every hotel in San Francisco represented.” Also in February, the hotel garnered a lot of publicity for being the first hotel to participate in the Better Buildings Challege SWAP, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program that saw officials from Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market swap energy teams in order to uncover new energy efficiency strategies. In December, Hilton Worldwide announced that it was the first hospitality company to achieve Superior Energy Performance certification from the DOE.
THE MALDIVES—Soneva Fushi, the multi award-winning luxury resort in the Maldives, which has implemented numerous projects to reduce their impact on the environment, recently joined hands with LightBlue Environmental Consulting to implement a food waste audit, to understand and address the problem of food waste that affects the entire hospitality industry and to reinforce its position as global leader in sustainability. The United Nations recently put food waste reduction as one of their most urgent goals to reach and countries all over the world are beginning to realize the true negative impact of food waste with the United States planning to cut its waste by 50 percent by 2030, and while the European Union has set itself the same target, it hopes to do it by 2020. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “The impact of food waste is not just financial. The vast amount of food going to landfills makes a significant contribution to global warming.” A detailed Food Waste Monitoring System was implemented by LightBlue across the Soneva Fushi operations for seven days.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Underscoring its leadership in responsible electronics recycling, LG Electronics USA has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the 2015 Gold Tier Award, the top-level recognition in the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Challenge.
DOVER, DEL.—When the two-day Sustain 2016 green lodging conference kicks off on March 14, it will be held at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, a venue with a long list of green initiatives. The 80-acre property, which features a 500-room hotel, casino, horse racing, entertainment, and multiple restaurants, is a Delaware Green Lodging Program participant and dedicated to reducing waste, improving energy and water efficiency, and supporting local farmers. According to Ed Sutor, President of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, the reasons for pursuing sustainability have been many but one reason has certainly been to keep costs under control. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino operates in a state with a gaming tax rate of 62 percent. At one time that was 25 percent. Dover Downs Hotel & Casino also operates in a highly competitive gaming region. In 1996 there were 15 casinos in the Mid-Atlantic region. Today there are 28 with more opening this year. From a waste management perspective, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino has seen significant improvement in recent years.
LOS ANGELES—The Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, a Green Seal certified property, announced that it will recycle 1,768 bed sets. The move is in accordance with criteria in Green Seal’s Environmental Standard for Hotels and Lodging Properties (GS-33), which calls for material recycling. The hotel is also preparing for compliance with California law SB 254, which takes effect this year. The decision by the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel will result in approximately 219,760 pounds of mattresses being diverted from landfills. The Hilton Los Angeles Airport has been Green Seal-certified (Bronze) under GS-33 since 2012. Green Seal is the nation’s first independent nonprofit certifier of sustainable products and services. “This Hilton has always been involved in sustainability, and it is only natural to recycle the mattress and box springs as part of our ongoing program to make the world and Los Angeles a better place,” said Grant Coonley, General Manager. “The Hilton’s decision to recycle their mattresses is a great example of what hotels can do to reduce waste and increase the sustainability of their property,” said Green Seal’s President and CEO, Arthur Weissman, Ph.D.
I have written or posted articles about food waste frequently over the years—articles focused on everything from food waste prevention to decomposition machines to a food waste disposal ban in Massachusetts. Nine years ago I wrote an article that briefly addressed food waste disposers. A lot can change in nine years and that is why I just posted an updated article on disposers and disposer systems based on my own research as well as conversations with leaders representing our industry’s two leading disposer brands—Salvajor and InSinkErator. Both of these companies, and others, are making it easier to dramatically reduce food waste volume while minimizing water and energy consumption. Food waste is much more than a practical, costly kitchen problem. It is a huge environmental one as well. According to Emerson Electric Co., owner of the InSinkErator brand of food waste disposers, each year in the United States, nearly 34 million tons of food waste is trucked to landfills.
NATIONAL REPORT—According to Emerson Electric Co., owner of the InSinkErator brand of food waste disposers, each year in the United States, nearly 34 million tons of food waste is trucked to landfills. Once there, it quickly decomposes and produces methane, an environmentally harmful greenhouse gas at least 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. While open air composting facilities and on-site waste decomposition machines are ways to manage food waste, kitchen food waste disposers and related systems remain a viable, convenient way to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill. These systems also quickly reduce costs related to labor and waste hauling. Workplace injuries related to moving heavy food waste are also eliminated. Walk around any major trade show in the hospitality industry where there is foodservice equipment and you are likely to find at least Salvajor and InSinkErator represented. “InSinkErator and Salvajor control 80 percent of the market,” says Chris Hohl, President and owner of Salvajor. Hobart, Franke Kitchen Systems and Joneca Corp. also manufacture food waste disposers.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.—Together with DocuSign Inc., a leader in eSignature and Digital Transaction Management (DTM), HotelPlanner and Meetings.com announce the launch of eContracting, which allows hotels to digitally send, sign, manage and receive signatures for group contracts for fast, easy, and secure review, approval and signature. Handling contract needs for all kinds of hotels and types of groups that used to take days, even weeks to do, is now simply done in a matter of minutes—100 percent digitally.
TRENTON, N.J.—Boasting an improved capsule designed specifically for use in business and hospitality settings, SolaBev is the latest technology introduced to the single-serve beverage market. In addition to the ability to address the higher-volume needs of commercial enterprises, the company announced its partnership with TerraCycle to provide a recycling solution for its capsules.
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