PHOTO: The hotel industry is one of the sectors leading the way in the fight against food waste. (Photo via Flickr/Stefan Krasowski)
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched a series of pilot programs, with support from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Rockefeller Foundation, with the ultimate goal of dramatically cutting down on food waste in the hotel industry.
Roughly a dozen hotels across the U.S. will participate in the 12-week projects, which kicked off Tuesday.
Participating hotel companies include Marriott International, Hilton, Hyatt and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), as well as Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Sage Hospitality and Terranea Resort.
According to SavetheFood.com, as much as 40 percent of food in the U.S. is wasted through the supply chain. Therefore, each pilot program will target an important step along the waste chain.
Projects include properly measuring food waste outputs on a regular basis, improving training programs for hotel employees and developing menus that reduce food waste and educate guests.
"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 The Rockefeller Foundation's associate director Devon Klatell in a statement.
"Our hunch is that they'll also take action to be part of the fight to cut food waste."
In his own statement, WWF director of food waste Pete Pearson said the "hospitality industry is an ideal catalyst for accelerating change."
"Imagine every hotel breakfast buffet or conference luncheon eliminating food waste," added Pearson.
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"The industry has a unique opportunity to raise awareness and design the guidelines, tools and resources needed to make a difference—the participation of some of America's largest brands in these pilot programs underscores the industry's long-term sustainability commitments," added AHLA president and CEO Kathrine Lugar in a statement.
Looking ahead, the WWF, AHLA and Rockefeller Foundation plan to launch additional activities for individual hotel properties to participate in. They will also publish a toolkit that reports on key findings, best practices and the next steps the industry should take to reduce food waste.