WWF urges Greek hotels and customers to stop food waste

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WWF urges Greek hotels and customers to stop food wasteThe local branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is working with three hotels to try to stop the rampant waste

ATHENS – With findings that half the food served is left uneaten and dumped in the garbage – during a time of hunger for many Greeks in a long-running economic and austerity crisis – the local branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is working with three hotels to try to stop the rampant waste.

WWF launched an initiative in cooperation with Unilever Food Solutions in May, that ends in September,  at Grecotel Cape Sounio in Attica, Aquila Rithymna Beach Resort in Rethymno, Crete, and the Athens Marriott, said Kathimerini in a feature.

WWF introduced a system in which the hotels keep a detailed daily record of waste, both in terms of food quantities thrown out during the preparation process and after the buffets or restaurants close, as well as guests’ leftovers.

“It was quite shocking when I realized how much waste we had. Almost all the guests only eat half of what they put on their plates and the rest ends up in the trash,” said Sakis Tzanetos, the chef at Grecotel Cape Sounio.

“We want to make hotel staff more aware, to create a new culture and philosophy, but also to inform guests about why we’ve launched this initiative,” said WWF’s Vicky Barboka, who’s responsible for the program.

“If the customer understands that this is being done for the sake of sustainability and in respect for all of the things the planet gives us, they may start to appreciate food differently,” she said without adding why they don’t request if any of the food could be saved and given to the hungry.

Athens Marriott chef Yiannis Tsounas told the paper that, “We want to send a message, with what little influence we have, that we need to take better care of nature’s gifts.”

Along with their plates, diners are given an note telling them of the program, especially at buffets, urging them not to take more than they can eat and not to pile on food that will wind up being put into the rubbish although still edible at the time.

The initiative also wants changes to how food is presented and served (reducing plate and serving platter sizes, providing individual portions, better storage etc) and moving more toward made-to-order dishes instead of buckets of food on tables for self-service.

Two years ago, the same program was implemented at 10 American hotels, helping them curb food waste by between 17-38 percent, the report said.

“By reducing the cost of waste, businesses can reinvest the money in improving their services. They can also manage the time of their staff better because food waste also means wasted man hours for the person who prepared it, as well as resources such as water and gas,” said Barboka.

Recent studies showed food production is the top threat to the environment and has led to the loss of 70 percent of biodiversity, using up 34 percent of the planet’s land and 69 percent of its clean water, while it also accounts for 24-30 percent of greenhouse emissions.

Periklis Alexandrakis, chef at Aquila Rithymna Beach, said food waste has troubled him for years, but he felt unequipped to deal with it. “I didn’t have the data or the tools,” he told the paper in the report.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report


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