LAS VEGAS—MGM Resorts International was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its outstanding efforts in food recovery. The entertainment and hospitality company received two national Food Recovery Challenge awards for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources.
“MGM’s zero waste leadership has turned mountains of food scraps into compost to help fight waste and climate change,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.
MGM Resorts and MGM Grand Las Vegas are two of the 32 recipients that received the 2014 Food Recovery Challenge Award, and the only recipients in Nevada. The award was given for achieving the highest percentage of potentially wasted food diversion and prevention.
Senator Harry Reid’s office also issued a certificate of recognition to the company for leading food recovery efforts in Nevada. Officials from the EPA and Sen. Reid’s office presented these honors to MGM Resorts representatives in a ceremony at ARIA Resort & Casino. A behind-the-scenes tour of the resort’s food recovery program was also given.
Who Participates in Challenge
The EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge partners with organizations and businesses to prevent and reduce wasted food. The participants include groups such as grocers, educational institutions, sports and entertainment venues, restaurants and hotels. The program saves money, helps communities reduce hunger, and protects the environment by purchasing less, donating extra food and composting.
“Food recovery is an important part of reducing environmental impact in Nevada and across the nation,” said Chris Brophy, Vice President of MGM Resorts’ Corporate Sustainability Division. “Preserving our resources and diverting waste from landfills is essential to our future and the communities in which we operate.”
MGM Resorts’ 13 Las Vegas resorts diverted a total of 25,398 tons of food from landfill to compost, a 50 percent increase over 2012. Composting this food instead of diverting to a landfill conserved the equivalent of more than 50,300 gallons of gasoline.
To achieve this milestone, MGM Resorts has dramatically increased food scrap composting rates in guest dining facilities, turning inedible food scraps into a valuable soil amendment and animal feed. In addition, these practices have been implemented in MGM Resort’s employee dining rooms, which serve more than 40,000 meals each day at no cost to employees.
Individual Award to MGM Grand Las Vegas
MGM Grand Las Vegas received a second Food Recovery Challenge Award in the individual Hotel, Resort and Lodging Facility Category for diverting 5,384 tons of food scraps to compost in 2013, an increase of 161 percent over 2012.
In 2012, Americans threw away nearly 35 million tons of food; that’s more than any other type of material being landfilled. As wasted food decomposes in a landfill, it generates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Nine MGM Resorts properties were specifically commended for increasing the amount of food scraps diverted from landfills from 2012 to 2013 with regional recognition and certificates of achievement. These include:
• Bellagio Resort & Casino: Increased diversion of food waste by 76 percent in 2013.
• Circus Circus Las Vegas: Diverted 883 tons of food from landfills in 2013.
• Excalibur Hotel & Casino: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 14 percent in 2013.
• Luxor Hotel & Casino: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 30 percent in 2013.
• The Mirage Hotel & Casino: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 4.8 percent in 2013.
• Monte Carlo Resort & Casino: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 66 percent in 2013.
• New York-New York Hotel & Casino: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 106 percent in 2013.
• The Signature at MGM Grand Las Vegas: Increased diversion of wasted food from landfills by 12 percent in 2013.
• CityCenter (Vdara, Aria, Mandarin Oriental, The Crystals and The Veer Towers): Increased diversion of wasted food by nearly 1 percent in 2013.
All told, these nine properties prevented 16,559 metric tons of carbon equivalent, equal to avoided burning of 17,786,252 pounds of coal.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that wasted food costs America more than $165 billion annually and that the average family of four throws away $1,600 worth of food each year. Through innovation and hard work, the Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers have greatly reduced wasted food. Food pantries, food rescue programs, local food banks, soup kitchens and shelters are benefitting from donations of wholesome and nutritious food—helping feed people, not landfills.