From Waste Stream Contamination and Staff Engagement to Improving Food Waste Management
Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Meeting space: 23,680 sq. ft. | Rooms: 312
Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara celebrates the diversity of Malaysia and France. Blending French sophistication with Malaysia’s melting pot of cultural influences, the Five Star luxury hotel enjoys a prime location in Damansara City, or DC, a new urban development created for convenience, leisure and productivity. As part of Accor Hotels, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara is committed to contributing to Accor Hotels’ pledge to deliver the following Planet 21 commitment by 2020: Reduce food waste by 30%.
With an ambitious global goal in place, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara and WWF-Malaysia joined hands to embark on a food waste journey on the ground using a stepwise-approach. Under the leadership of the hotel’s General Manager, Franck Loison, and with guidance from WWF-Malaysia, a special task force to lead the food waste initiative was recruited with representatives from various departments.
Challenges: waste stream contamination
Introducing new behaviours such as the separation of food waste from all other waste streams, was one of the key actions needed at the start of the hotel’s food waste reduction initiative. Changing behaviour, however, does not happen easily and requires continuous reinforcement, especially in a busy operation environment such as a commercial kitchen. To collect reliable food waste data and also allow the opportunity to explore better diversion of food waste away from landfills, it was integral for relevant staff to ensure accurate separation of waste streams.
Contamination, including plastic packaging in dedicated food waste bins or food scraps in general waste bins, was a key challenge throughout the first months resulting in some setbacks during this time. Various efforts were undergone, including increased communication on food waste during regular team meetings or town halls, to enforce compliance with the new SOP. Other more creative solutions included a month-long competition between kitchen teams whereby culinary and stewarding staff were able to score or lose points based on their efforts. These efforts included but were not limited to:
- actively conducting bin checks,
- reporting and correcting inaccurate disposal based on before/after photos,
- showcasing correct disposal of (food) waste,
- identifying barriers/challenges in food waste separation for their respective area (e.g. inconvenient bin placement).
Rewarding positive changes in behaviour helped Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara overcome these challenges.
Introducing a new normal
As an effort to reduce plate waste at the hotel’s staff canteen, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara had previously introduced a Bin-free-Friday once a month. Given the positive response of staff to this initiative, the task force decided to scale up and make every Friday a bin-free day. Similar to a clean-plate-challenge, staff was encouraged to leave no food behind on their plates. As a bonus, fun games with chances to win small prizes were also introduced for greater staff engagement.
Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara recognizes that effective food waste management is an ongoing process. It takes continuous training, staff engagement, and industry-wide guidelines and norms, but also changes in everyone’s personal life to form habits of separating and preventing food waste. Understanding the urgency to reduce food waste, keeping it out of landfills for the benefit of our planet—and both current and future generations—is key. Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara is committed to continuous improvement, staff training, and engagement to reduce the hotel’s food waste while working with WWF-Malaysia to test and implement different interventions and access helpful localized resources.