In this third installment of our special feature “Considering the Circular Economy in Restaurants,” we will consider how to create a circular hotel from the perspective of “procurement” of various resources owned by the hotel. Here, we would like to introduce ideas and domestic and international examples of resource recycling, divided into the “lodging sector” and the “food and beverage/banquet sector”.

Understanding Butterfly Diagrams

In “procuring” various resources in hotels, it is necessary to consider circulation based on the “Three Principles of Circular Economy” and the “Butterfly Diagram” introduced in the first article.

butterfly diagram

(Adapted from Circular Economy Hub )

Resources mined in the Principle-1 layer are fed into the Principle-2 layer; if resources in the Principle-2 layer can be “used as long as possible,” the amount of waste and pollution falling into the Principle-3 layer approaches zero. In other words, the key is to procure mainly “things that can be used for a long time” and “things that do not generate waste. We should also be aware that in the left and right cycles, “biological cycle” and “technological cycle,” the more inner loop is considered to be the environmentally friendly approach.

Lodging Division

In guest rooms, there are various fixtures such as amenities that are disposed of as consumables for each stay and towels that are replaced and used over and over again. Here, we would like to introduce ideas for reducing the amount of waste itself and for continuing to use fixtures. Also, please keep in mind that the ” Law for Promotion of Plastic Resource Recycling” will be enforced in April 2022, and hotels and inns will be required to make efforts to reduce the use of plastic products.

Procure large-volume bottles to reduce waste

Many hotels may have mini-bottles of shampoo and other bath amenities for each guest. Replacing them with large-capacity bottles provided in guest rooms will help reduce waste of the contents as well as the containers. It is also possible to provide mineral water without containers by installing water servers or mymizu. Recently, the number of people who bring their own bottles has been increasing, so there is also an aspect of less resistance.

Eliminate procurement of disposable amenities

Some hotels are beginning to not provide amenities such as toothbrushes and hairbrushes. In this case, it is necessary to make sure to inform guests of the lack of amenities at the time of reservation, or to sell them to guests who forgot to bring their own.

Sourcing biodegradable amenities

With the growing trend away from plastics, amenities made from natural materials are gaining attention, and MiYO-organic- is working to develop environmentally friendly products such as bamboo toothbrushes, cotton swabs, and hair combs. Another hotel amenity, Green Box, developed by OnMateria, a Sweden-based design firm, uses compostable materials such as recycled polylactic acid, wheat fiber, and non-toxic plant-based pigments to make the green part of the product. Adopting amenities made of natural materials allows for a “bio-cycle” of recycling.

We want to promote sustainable products through hotel amenities. Challenge of

No new procurement, repeated use

Until now, it has been commonplace to find bottled mineral water in guest rooms. “Hyatt Centric Ginza” is reducing waste by replacing these bottles with returnable bottles. Returnable bottles are collected after use, cleaned, and refilled before commercialization. If a collection scheme is in place, the bottles can be used over and over again. This means that raw materials and energy used to manufacture new containers can be reduced, and since plastic is not used as a raw material, these containers can be considered environmentally friendly.

Repair/repair and continue to use

GOOD NATURE HOTEL KYOTO, located in the center of Kyoto, has been working on kintsugi, a traditional Japanese technique, for tea utensils used in guest rooms. When tea utensils are chipped or cracked, the kintsugi process is applied instead of replacing them with new ones, thereby prolonging the use of the utensils and reducing waste. Another appeal of kintsugi is that it allows the wearer to enjoy the unique texture of kintsugi. Repairing and prolonging use is an important part of the technological cycle.

Food & Beverage/Banquet

Hotels with restaurants and banquet halls face the problem of “food loss“. We would like to look at ideas for reducing food loss through proper procurement and ingenuity, as well as environmentally friendly procurement methods. Also, we would like to introduce some environmentally friendly ideas and services that do not involve the disposal of chipped or broken tableware, which used to be exchanged for new tableware.

Reduce food loss by procuring only the right amount of food

The most important thing is to procure only the necessary amount of foodstuffs so that they will not be used up and discarded. To achieve this, the number of customers and sales must be forecasted and appropriate stocking must be made. This is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task that can be made more efficient by using services such as AI-Hawk, which is provided by companies. Also important are the chef’s skill in combining ingredients well to reduce losses and the communication with customers by the service staff.

Sourcing safe food and eliminating contamination

In order for the biological cycle loop to work, it is a prerequisite that no harmful chemicals or other substances that may have an adverse effect on the natural world, including the human body, are included. Therefore, in addition to ensuring safety as stipulated by law, we procure organically grown crops that do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms. The third of the Circular Economy Principles, “Design to Eliminate Waste and Pollution,” can be met.

Reduce CO2 emissions from transportation by sourcing local ingredients

By using locally produced and consumed ingredients as much as possible, not to mention homegrown, food mileage can be reduced and CO2 emissions in transportation can be reduced. It also reduces the use of preservatives and other harmful substances, as well as packaging materials, leading to a reduction in waste.

Utilize food loss for food ingredients

Upcycle by Oisix has been selling “here too edible chips” that make use of discarded ingredients, and sales have far exceeded the company’s plan. In addition, according to the company’s official website, the company has reduced food loss by approximately 16 tons, calculated from the total amount of food distributed from July 2021 to February 2022.

Subscribe for tableware.

Subscribers can reduce initial costs by renting plates for a fixed amount each month instead of purchasing them. Nikko Company offers sarasub, a plate subscription service. After the contract expires, the dishes are collected and reused (reused), repaired (repaired), and refurbished (remanufactured) as much as possible, and even dishes that are no longer usable are recycled, aiming for a recycling of dishes.

Sourcing environmentally friendly tableware

Buffet style is often used for receptions and other party occasions. It takes a lot of manpower to prepare, refill, and wash a large number of plates. On the other hand, disposable plates increase waste. WASARA, made from materials that can be returned to the soil, is a convenient solution to this problem. After use, they can be composted and recycled back into the natural world.

Editor’s Note

How was it? The basic premise is “to eliminate waste and pollution”. To achieve this, it is important to procure materials that can be used as long as possible and to devise ways to prevent waste. More and more suppliers are focusing on developing environmentally friendly products. In addition, some exhibitions are reopening, so it is a good idea to first look for sustainable products that suit your company’s needs.

[Related Article] Considering the Hotel Circular Economy (1) Basics
[Related Article] Considering the Hotel Circular Economy (2) Certification System
[Reference Site] Considering the Circular Economy in Restaurants (2) Ingredients

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