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BANGKOK, Thailand, December 7, 2018 – The PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Department conducted our last PATA staff knowledge development lunch workshop of the year. This time, we dived into learning about food surplus management with the help of good friend and partner, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) Foundation, better known as Thai-SOS. Thai-SOS is also known as the pioneer of food rescue operations in Thailand.  Representing the foundation as a guest speaker was Mr. Bruce Chen, Community Engagement Coordinator. Bruce is a recognized researcher and speaker on sustainable development programs who is determined to change the general public’s perception of food waste and surplus food as it is still a new concept in Thailand.

The world produces enough nutritional food to feed the whole population, yet there are still so many people who go to bed hungry every night. The objective of this lunch workshop was thus to help PATA staff become more aware of issues surrounding food waste, and empower them to share this new knowledge with others.

After a brief introduction about Thai-SOS, Bruce shared some staggering statistics regarding food waste in Thailand, which made everyone suddenly more conscious about the Subway sandwich they were holding in their hands. Some staff members began replacing the lettuce they had just taken out of their sandwiches!

Did you know?

  • 64% of 27.06 million tonnes (27,060 kg) of Thailand’s municipal waste is made up of food waste.
  • An average Bangkok grocery store can throw away up to 200 kg of edible food a day.
  • An average 5-star hotel buffet throws away up to 50 kgs of edible food during each service period.

Speaking of lunch, this time’s lunch got everyone excited to attend the workshop because it was from Subway. Of course, to provide lunch sustainably, we brought our own containers to pack the sandwiches, plus reusable containers to pack four types of sauces. We are proud to say that zero single-use plastics were used to provide our lunch this time around! Thank you to the staff at Subway for helping us consume consciously!

              

We had plenty of time for Q&A with Bruce so we were able to clear any doubts and make the most out of his time here. When asked what is the ultimate goal that Thai-SOS wish to achieve, Bruce said “our end goal is of course for us to run out of business because then it means people finally know it is the norm to not waste food and it is the norm not to overproduce food. But that will take us a very long time.”

At the end of the workshop, our tummies were full, our minds were filled and our souls were ready to make a change. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Thai-SOS for being such angels – for changing the world one meal at a time. To volunteer with Thai-SOS, please reach out to them here. Alternatively, you can drop us an email at SSR@pata.org.

Extra bites:

Bruce was also a guest speaker at PATA x MUIC workshop touching base about Sustainable Hospitality Businesses. Read about it here.

Read about our previous lunch workshops here.

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Reduce food waste to landfills – It starts with you

Categories: Green Tips
Comments Off on Reduce food waste to landfills – It starts with you

Credit: Shutterstock 

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year. Yet, one in nine people on Earth do not have enough food. Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated at 303 billion tonnes of equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere. With increasing concern of the world for climate change, PATA, along with our project partner Scholars of Sustenance Thailand (Thai-SOS) and knowledge partner, Futoris are undertaking the BUFFET (Building an Understanding of Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative to target food waste in the hospitality industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Food waste reduction practices should not only be left to government or private sector to implement; we believe that food waste reduction should first start in your home. Here’s how you can start:

  1. Plan before you buy

    Having your meals planned before going to the grocery store saves you both money and time and most importantly, saves food from going to waste. It prevents you from buying unnecessary and impulse ingredients that will probably just end up sitting in the back of your refrigerator until it turns bad. When planning your meals, it is best to consume ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. This way, you won’t waste any ingredients or be bored of the same food!

  2. Blend away

    It is hard to refrain yourself from buying packets of nutritious fruits and vegetables especially when they’re on sale. 2 packets of strawberries selling for the price of 1? Freeze them and blend it into a delicious smoothie that is perfect for anytime of the day. Best part is that a mix of any kinds of fruits and vegetables will be able to make a perfect blend. Here are 50 smoothies combinations you can try at home.

  3. Trust your senses

    How many times have you thrown away food that is perfectly packaged just because it has passed its expiry date? “Best-before” dates are indicators of when a product may begin to lose its flavor and texture, not when the product becomes dangerous to eat. Be sure to do a simple sniff test before tossing food into the bin.

  4. Compost

    Composting does not always need to be a pile of wastes that is dirty, which stinks or looks like it has a life on its own. You will be surprised by just how easy it to start an indoor or outdoor composting pile. Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of waste per household per year. Composting at home is one of the best ways you can practice sustainable living through connecting waste back to the resource.

Food for thought: How long do you think it takes for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill? 

  1. Grow your own

    Now that you have enriched soil in hand from composting, there is nothing more fulfilling than reaping what you sow. Growing your own food saves you a trip to the grocery store and give you the control on what kinds of fertilizer and pesticides come in contact with your food.

Answer: It takes 25 YEARS for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill. A little goes a long way. Start being an active citizen and be conscious of what you toss in the bin.

 

Further information on food waste:

Watch: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017)

Volunteer: Check out Scholars of Sustenance (SOS)’s country projects. Your country may be next to benefit from SOS Food Rescue programs.

Cut food costs in your kitchen: See how Winnow Solutions can help.

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Chef sautèing vegetables in a commercial kitchen.

Buffets are highly appealing to guests, but they are also one of the top generators of food waste. Food waste is a costly and serious environmental issue. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases, just behind the U.S. and China.

But, food waste also provides great opportunities for the hotel sector. A research found that for every $1 hotel invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs. With simple changes, hotels can minimize the problem, help the environment and contribute to their margin at the same time.

Winnow develops digital tools to help chefs run a more sustainable, profitable kitchen by cutting food waste in half. Together, chefs and teams using Winnow in 39 countries are saving over 18 million meals and $25,000 per year. From our experience we have learned simple tips to help hotel operators strike a balance between reducing waste and ensuring guest satisfaction:

Estimate the number of daily guests – By using this information, kitchens can forecast production volumes more realistically.

Find out who your guests are – Learn about your guest’s demographics to help you adjust your offering. When there are fewer Asian guests, for example, production of commonly-wasted foods such as rice and congee can be reduced.

Make your buffets look full – Consider reducing the size or depth of your serving dishes, and invest in table decorations rather than displaying more food.

Add live stations to your buffet – Cook dishes with more perishable ingredients, such as omelet and pasta, at live stations during the services.

Encourage guests to waste less – Giving your guests smaller plates sends a subtle message to take less food at one go and to return for seconds if desired.

Invest in technology – Digital tools, such as Winnow, inform where, when and why food waste occurs helping chefs manage their food waste more effectively.

The buffet is here to stay, but we would encourage every hotel operator to look for ways to reduce food waste. It helps the hotels` bottom line and reduces their environmental footprint at the same time. If you’d like to learn more tips to make your kitchen profitable and sustainable, download this free guide with 14 easy and essential steps.

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BANGKOK, THAILAND, October 18, 2018 – Food waste remains as challenging as ever, and we in the hospitality and tourism industry have a special responsibility to do our part to reduce this wastage.  With sustainable consumption and production practices and the Sustainable Development Goals in mind, PATA Sustainability and Social Responsibility Department gathered partners, members from hotel sectors, private and government sectors for an intimate brainstorming session to see what more we can do collectively to raise awareness and reduce food waste to landfill.

The brainstorming session aimed to build on the momentum of the BUFFET (Building an Understanding for Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative to discuss on the current situation of food waste in hospitality and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific. Chi Lo, PATA Sustainability, and Social Responsibility Specialist kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the campaign. The session then continued with a self-introduction of participants on their personal interest on food waste as well as an introduction on what their organisations are currently pursuing.

Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA as well as Trevor Weltman, PATA Chief of Staff were present in the discussion to engage with our partners and contribute their knowledge on this matter. The brainstorming session took off thanks to everyone’s passion for the issues at hand.

The main activity of this brainstorming session revolved around the discussion of strategies and ideas on how to further raise awareness of food waste in our industry and drive positive change. A state of industry report is set to be released in May 2019 which will showcase the results and findings of the Bangkok Hotels Project. This report will also include valuable case studies of food reduction champions in the hospitality industry.

The next highlight of the BUFFET initiative will be the announcement of the BUFFET for Youth challenge. The winning team will showcase their case study at the PATA Youth Symposium in PATA Annual Summit 2019. PATA extends its gratitude to all the organisations who participated in this brainstorming session. We look forward to working together in a collaborative effort to tackle this global issue.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Every time food is wasted, all the money, packaging, manpower, and water are wasted too. The loss of natural resources such as land, water, and biodiversity, as well as the negative impacts of climate change represent huge costs to society. To minimise our impact on the environment, every single one of us needs to ensure that we work to reduce and ultimately prevent food waste in our very own kitchens on a daily basis. Luckily, we have some EGG -citing tips for you to take back to your kitchen and implement right away:

Feast your eyes on this short video clip that provides tips on how to reduce food waste posted on the UN FAO Instagram account. We know it is corny, but food is simply a-MAIZE-ing, so LETTUCE celebrate, make responsible choices and prevent food waste from going to landfill.

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Credit: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON – New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 finds there is a compelling business case for hotels to reduce the amount of food they throw away.  For every $1 hotels invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs.

In a first-of-its kind analysis for the industry, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 42 sites – including Sofitel, MGM and more – across 15 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste. Within just one year, the hotels had reduced food waste from their kitchens by 21 percent on average, and over 70 percent had recouped their investment.  Within two years, 95 percent had recouped their investment.

The 7:1 return on investment comes from buying less food and thereby reducing purchase costs, increasing revenue from new menu items developed from leftovers or foods previously considered “scraps,” and lower waste management costs.

Read the full press release and full report here.

By Jillian Holzer and Amanda Williamson for Champions 12.3.

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Waste plastic bottles and other types of plastic waste at the waste disposal site in Thilafushi, part of the Maldives. Credit: Shutterstock/ Mohamed Abdulraheem

 

There’s no love lost for plastic packaging. Whether it’s complicated recycling instructions on the products we buy, startling images of the impacts on wildlife or simply the economic value lost through waste, plastics have been climbing the international agenda for years. So how do 8 million tonnes of plastic still end up in the ocean each year?

Searching for the right solutions

The urgency of the issue has led to brands, governments, NGOs and celebrities promoting a host of solutions. Reusable packaging is part of the answer, and shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups have become popular purchases for those trying to do their bit. This works to replace certain types of packaging, but think about all the other pieces of plastic we come into contact with every single day. Plastic film can keep food fresher for longer, and wrappers ensure medical equipment is safe for patients. In many cases, it wouldn’t be hygienic, convenient or feasible to go fully reusable.

Read the full article on innovations such as packaging inspired by nature, made from food waste and more here.

By Joe Iles for GreenBiz.

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Credit: Sereechai Puttes, Time Out Bangkok

SOS Thailand’s COO tells us how we can get more out of food waste

Bangkok is a huge buffet city, with hotels and restaurants offering daily eat-all-you-can feasts or Sunday brunch specials. Many of these buffets prepare more food than their guests can consume—better be safe than have to deal with hungry, disgruntled customers complaining that there wasn’t enough roast beef.

But have you ever wondered what these restaurants do with all their excess food? Most become food waste, ending up in trash bins and, later, landfills. (64 percent of Bangkok landfills are made up of food waste.) Have you ever wondered if there was any way you could perhaps make sure that all these surplus food doesn’t just go to the bin? An NGO in Thailand has.

Read the full article to find out more here.

By Gail Piyanan and Thana Boonlert for Time Out Bangkok.

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Getting rid of habits and changing behaviour to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle on a personal level can be challenging. Let’s say you have noticed that you throw out a lot of food because it has gone bad before you’ve had the chance to eat it and you want to reduce the amount of food wasted in the future. more » Read more

Credit: Shutterstock

Guest blogger Jackie Edwards reminds us about our everyday choices and suggests sustainable ways to start the new year!

Humans have unarguably an enormous impact on our planet. With a growing population needing ever more resources, it’s really important to think about how your life has an impact on the environment around you, and take responsibility.

Some of the greatest effects are the most obvious – like air travel, for example, which is why being a sustainable traveller is really important. However, there are plenty of things to think about a little closer to home as well – consumption of petrol in the USA has more than quadrupled since the 1950s. Sustainability is important in all areas of our lives but really does begin in the home. Small changes to your everyday life will add up over the years to help make a positive impact for generations to come, so consider what you can do differently.

 

Consumable resources

Reducing your water and electricity consumption is a great place to start. Both are necessary to everyday life, but making sure that you are using it efficiently and without unnecessary waste is really important. Get your plumbing checked out for any leaks, and reduce the amount of water your toilet uses to flush – and even try an eco-friendly shower-head. Swap your light bulbs for low-energy LED models, and remember to turn them off when leaving a room – as well as other electrical items like your TV or laptop. You can also help the bigger picture by switching energy suppliers to one committed to using green renewable power.  

 

What’s on the table?

Sustainability isn’t simply about using less: it’s also being smarter about what we do use. Take a look at your pantry and fridge: where does your food come from? How far has it travelled to reach your plate, and how sustainable are the growing and manufacturing processes. You don’t necessarily have to turn vegan, but choosing ethical and sustainable local sources for your meat and dairy products is one way to reduce your impact. Buy only what you need to reduce wastage, and set up a compost bin in your garden to avoid sending any organic scraps to landfill.

 

Shopping and material goods

Whether you’re picking up your weekly shopping or making a big, one-off purchase, take a moment to think about the wider impacts of your choice. Home cleaning products, for example, can contain some really nasty chemicals, which create problems further down the water system – and make sure that as much packaging for food and other products you buy is recyclable or reusable. This is also a good idea to consider when you’re choosing big-ticket items like furniture or electrical equipment: what is its lifespan and how will you get rid of it? Make sure it can be recycled or re-used, and consider paying a bit extra for a quality product that will last longer.

 

Some of these changes will require altering habits and comforts we just take for granted – but with a commitment to sustainability driving you, it won’t be long before this becomes the norm and you can be more confident about your impact on the planet.

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