The two hotels in Grande Lakes Orlando—The Ritz-Carlton Orlando and JW Marriott Orlando—are among the first lodging establishments in Central Florida to send food waste to the Central Florida Energy Garden. Owned and operated by Harvest Power and located within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the recently opened Energy Garden converts organic waste into renewable biogas and natural fertilizers. (See related article.)
Twice each week, food waste from the two facilities’ banquet operations is picked up and taken to the Energy Garden. Bob Brown, Chief Engineer for the hotels, says about 20 to 30 tons a month of food waste is being recycled. That represents just a portion of the food waste generated. “We are looking to add an additional weekly pickup,” Brown says. “Together, the three weekly pickups would end up accounting for 50 percent of our food waste.”
Brown says he first visited the Energy Garden in November when Harvest Power first approached the two hotels. “We have since taken a team of chefs,” he says.
Prior to working with Harvest Power, food waste was sent to the landfill along with other solid waste. Brown says the two hotels generate about 10 to 11 tons of solid waste daily, about 25 percent of which is food waste.
Containers Provided for Food Waste
Harvest Power provided the portable containers for the food waste. The two hotels have switched to a new vendor—provided by Harvest Power—for the food waste pickups.
“Because Marriott leveraged their purchasing power, we have a fairly good rate,” Brown says. “Our goal is for it to be cost-neutral.”
Brown says one goal of the initiative is to get fertilizer back from the plant to use at Grande Lakes Orlando’s Whisper Creek Farm, a 7,000-square-foot fruit and vegetable garden.
Michelle Valle, Director of Public Relations for Grande Lakes Orlando, says the growing relationship with Harvest Power adds to the property’s green story, enhancing its attractiveness to those who want to bring their business to the two hotels.
“We all live and work in Central Florida,” Brown adds. “Reducing what goes to the landfill is the right thing to do.”
The food waste recycling program is just one of many environment-related initiatives at Grande Lakes Orlando. For example, low flush toilets are used in all guestrooms and public areas.
All Conference Center area lighting has been switched to lower wattage halogen bulbs. High efficient chillers provide cooling for the buildings. Educational Eco-Tours are available and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Golf Course has been designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
Go to Grande Lakes Orlando to learn more.
This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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