The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa – a member of global hotel giant Starwood – is piloting a machine that turns food waste into fertiliser, which is then used to cultivate plants on the hotel’s property.
The Korean-developed machine, in use in the resort since March 2013, recycles food waste generated by the hotel’s six restaurants and staff canteen, recycling between 150-200kg of food waste a day, but capable of handling up to 600kg of waste per cycle. The machine uses heat and pressure to reduce the waste to around 30% of its original weight over a 10-hour period.
The resulting fertiliser is then used to feed plants across the resort, and will be used in a newly built herb garden, in which ingredients such as onions, mint, coriander, basil and lemongrass will be grown. If the project is a success, there are plans to introduce similar machines into Starwood’s other six Abu Dhabi hotels. The project is part of an initiative to reduce energy consumption by 30% and water consumption by 20% across Starwood’s portfolio of properties by 2020.
Estimates from international organisation the United Nations suggest that food production will need to double to feed the growing global population by 2050, yet according to a report published in January 2013, up to half of the world's food is thrown away every year (see Global Food & Health Trends 2013-14). Consumers are increasingly concerned about issues of food waste, sustainability and transparency – with 39% of Americans reportedly feeling guilty about throwing food away – and hospitality companies must devise unique initiatives to address this growing problem.