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Chains join WWF in cutting food waste

Profile Photo By: Steve Shellum
March 22, 2017

Chains join WWF in cutting food waste

New York City – 22 March 2017 – 
Some of the world’s largest hotel chains are taking part in an initiative aimed at cutting food waste, which includes re-thinking menus to prevent food from ending up in the bin, an environmental organisation said on Tuesday.

About a dozen hotels across the United States run by groups including Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott International are taking part in a 12-week pilot programme to cut food waste in hospitality, according to World Wildlife Fund, Thomson Reuters reported.

“Imagine every hotel breakfast buffet or conference luncheon eliminating food waste,” said Pete Pearson, WWF director of food waste.

About a third of food produced around the world is never eaten because it is spoiled after harvest and during transportation, or thrown away by shops and consumers.

Yet almost 800 million people worldwide go to bed hungry every night, according to United Nations figures.

In the United States, about 66 million tons of food was wasted by consumers and the retail sector in 2010 at a loss of almost US$162 billion, according to estimates by the US Department of Agriculture.

Pearson said some of the hotel chefs are working to make sure menus for banquets and large events can be quickly adjusted if necessary, and part of the excess food reused for other meals.

“No chef likes wasting food,” he said.

Throwing out food wastes the water, energy and fuel needed to grow, store and transport it, campaigners say, while discarded food ends up in landfills where it rots, releasing harmful greenhouse gases.

Launched with support from the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Rockefeller Foundation, the initiative will also focus on training staff and raising customers’ awareness.

“We’ve already seen that hotel guests are more than willing to conserve water and energy, simply by placing a card on their pillows or hanging their towels,” said Devon Klatell, associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation. “Our hunch is that they’ll also take action to be part of the fight to cut food waste.”

Reducing food waste is a good investment for companies that can save an average of US$14 for every dollar spent on it, a recent study showed.

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