Wasted Food: Leaving Nothing on the Table
By Katarina Tesarova Vice President of Global Sustainability, Las Vegas Sands Corp. | May 12, 2019
Sitting in a restaurant after a lengthy deliberation, we finally made our selections and ordered our meals. After a few minutes, the appetizers arrived. We pulled out our phones to capture these culinary masterpieces. They proved to be a treat for the taste buds as well as for the eyes. We finished them all but for a few pieces. The plates with leftovers disappeared and soon we were presented with the main course. With a few more "foodie photos" worthy for Instagram, we dove in.
Similarly, to the appetizers, these dishes were also exceptional, but after only a few mouthfuls, our stomachs started to send the signals of satiety. We stopped about halfway though, conscious of our waistlines and dessert plans. Once again, the plates with remnants were whisked away. The situation repeated with the dessert - pictures, a few bites of deliciousness, but this time, most of the food remained on the plate as our bellies begged for mercy.
And once again the leftover vanishing act followed. Every day, this ritual is re-enacted thousands of times in restaurants across the country, contributing to a largely hidden issue of food waste.
Waste Not, Want Not, Why Not?
At Las Vegas Sands, we are not immune to this challenge either. With more than 300 restaurants and extensive banquet operations in the U.S., Singapore and Macao, we have had the opportunity to test many food waste reduction ideas.
But let's start at the beginning by untangling the impacts associated with food waste. From the economic standpoint, we pay for food waste three times: the first time is in the price of food that we purchase, the second time as labor needed to process the food and, finally, the disposal cost to get rid of the food waste. From an environmental standpoint, the growing of food is resource intensive from water use to carbon footprint of agricultural operation and transportation.
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