Tackling Food Waste Through Local Partners and Portion Sizes
L.G. Smith Blvd 55B, Oranjestad, Aruba
Total square footage: 188,033 sq. ft. | Rooms: 104
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba is one of the leaders of hotel sustainability in the Caribbean. With 104 rooms, Bucuti & Tara is a boutique resort with an extensive wellness and sustainability program. For years, they have practiced a range of environmental efforts to improve their positive impact and reduce their footprint, which led them to become the first CarbonNeutral® certified resort hotel in the Caribbean.
One initiative of the property’s extensive and comprehensive sustainability protocol is a long-standing relationship with a local pig farmer who receives all leftover food and food scraps. They have also previously worked to reduce portion sizes according to observations of food left on guests’ plates. Bucuti & Tara is also frequently rated among the most romantic hotels in the world, showing that quality and sustainability can and should go hand-in-hand.
Since independently implementing a food waste pilot based on Hotel Kitchen guidance beginning in July 2018, Bucuti & Tara has eliminated almost 30% of food wasted before and during service to guests while maintaining a 97% occupancy rate. They started by introducing new bins that allowed staff to sort and track food waste. After four weeks of gauging reactions to this process, they used WWF and Lobster Ink’s video series to conduct training with staff in both English and Spanish to give more background as to why this was being done. The staff was most motivated by the examples that showed how much food could be lost along the supply chain, and many did not realize that the impacts were environmental and not just economic. This culture shift has been easy to maintain, with new staff following suit alongside their practiced team members.
Bucuti & Tara is frequently rated among the most romantic hotels in the world, showing that quality and sustainability can and should go hand-in-hand.
Operating on an island leads to complicated system dynamics. In Aruba, most food is imported and much of the waste fills landfills that monopolize the island’s limited space. This is not only an environmental drain, but a waste of energy and resources, with properties paying fees to dump their waste. Bucuti & Tara hopes to provide an example of how a resort can create a positive impact by implementing responsible food waste policies, and save time and money in the process. Although Bucuti & Tara is already a leader in best practices, they were able to make substantial reductions in food waste after implementing this program.
Bucuti & Tara now hopes to conduct the food waste training using the Lobster Ink videos once a year to maintain the culture and train new staff. Additionally, they will continue to engage staff members in reducing waste in the staff cafeterias. They also hope to continue to improve their footprint over time by tracking and reducing their waste.