RePurpose: The Triple Bottom Line Approach to Waste Reduction
By Jennifer Silberman Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Hilton Worldwide | May 11, 2014
The World Bank estimates that global urban populations create 1.6 billion tons of solid waste per year, and more than half of that ends up in landfills. A mere fraction is composted or recycled. In the United States, the hospitality industry alone produces 1.9 billion pounds of waste annually. According the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly 30 percent of all food produced in a year is thrown away, while more than 888 million struggle with hunger. That's 1.3 billion tons of uneaten food. And on a daily basis, 2.6 million bars of soap are discarded by the hotel industry in the United States alone according to the Global Soap Project.
It's clear from these statistics that waste output is one of the greatest sustainability issues our industry faces. For the hospitality industry, the serious and long-term consequences of improper waste management are as far-reaching as the millions of guests we connect with around the world. Uncollected solid waste hurts our planet well beyond the eyesore, leading to environmental, health and economic development challenges around the world. Further, waste negatively impacts the sustainability of the communities where our hotels are located.
We have a responsibility to the communities we serve through our industry, to strive to maximize operational efficiencies to reduce waste output, including materials such as food, soap, mattresses, furniture and other hard goods.
As a hospitality company, we recognize that we are at great risk of producing enormous amounts of waste. Our business model demands high product turnover. But at Hilton Worldwide, we see this challenge as an opportunity. Our attention to waste reduction stems from our pledge to operate at maximum efficiency to reduce our impact on the environment and preserve our planet for future generations.
In 2009, we made a commitment to reduce waste by 20% in five years. Properties around the world contribute to this goal and develop local initiatives reflective of their capacity and local operating environment. In 2011, we exceeded our waste reduction goal, two years ahead of schedule but we still see more opportunity to improve.
Measurement and Continuous Improvement