One of the World's Largest Hospitality Chains to Grow Its Own Vegetables at 1,000 Hotels
In an attempt to eliminate 30 percent of its food waste by 2020, AccorHotels has announced plans to grow vegetables at 1,000 of its hotels.
The Novotel at Auckland Airport, New Zealand. Photo credit: Chris McLennan/AccorHotels
The Paris-based AccorHotels is one of the world's largest hospitality groups. It operates and franchises roughly 3,900 hotels in 92 countries, including the Pullman, Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis chains.
The hotel chain's larger goal is to cut food waste to zero and to serve sustainable food as a whole.
"As we serve 200 million meals a year, we will be focusing particularly on offering healthy and responsible dishes, and on stemming food waste in our restaurants," CEO Sebastien Bazin said in a statement.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) also quoted Bazin saying on Tuesday that he intends to cut food waste by a third "in particular by sourcing food locally.”
Under its new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments, AccorHotels has outlined the following actions the group will take by 2020:
- 30 percent less food waste
- 100 percent low-carbon new buildings and renovations for its owned and leased properties
- 1,000 urban vegetable gardens in its hotels
According to AFP, the company will first need to work out exactly how much food is going to waste by having its restaurants weigh and record how much food is being thrown away.
Amir Nahai, who leads Accor’s food operations, told the news publication that the company will trim down menus that offer more than 40 main courses.
“In the future we’re going to have menus with 10, 15 or 20 main courses, with more local products,” Nahai said.
The new initiatives are part of AccorHotels's "Planet 21" sustainable development program that kicked off in 2012.
In the video below, the company describes a number of ways in which they'll cut waste, from recycling orange peels to make marmalade to recycling used soap and redistributing them to communities in need.
The company also plans to improve the energy efficiency in its buildings with the ultimate aim of making them carbon neutral.
"In the wake of the 21st conference on climate change, we took the lessons we had learned from our previous program and used them to shape our vision for 2020: Drive the change towards positive hospitality wherever we are," Bazin said in a statement.
"This new five-year plan is our way of encouraging the hospitality business to do more about curbing its impacts and of inspiring a new model that brings about enduring changes."
The AFP reported that in its previous five-year environmental plan, AccorHotels reported it had cut water consumption by nearly 9 percent, energy consumption by 5.3 percent and carbon emissions by 6.2 percent.
Solar panels on the Ibis Styles Troyes Centre in France. Photo credit: Philippe Wang/AccorHotels
Each year, one-third of the world’s food is wasted after it has been harvested. That's 1.3 billion tonnes annually. Considering how many people in the world are starving, this isn't just a giant waste, it's also a huge detriment to people and the planet.
A study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that food waste could account for about a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“Agriculture is a major driver of climate change, accounting for more than 20 percent of overall global greenhouse-gas emissions in 2010,” Prajal Pradhan, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “Avoiding food loss and waste would therefore avoid unnecessary greenhouse-gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.”
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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