Friday, December 4, 2009

Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia & Composting

When management at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia learned in 2006 that their recycling program was only catching 3 to 5 percent of the hotel's waste by weight, they were not very happy. To increase the property's recycling volume, the hotel established a kitchen scraps recycling program with local composter and farmer Ned Foley. The program has been a success with the hotel saving almost $5,000 a year by having the compostable waste taken to Foley's Two Particular Acres farm. The waste would otherwise have gone to a landfill.

The composting program has been a success thanks to the efforts of the many employees who work in the hotel's kitchen. Black composting bins stand close to each kitchen work station. Employees deposit all of the kitchen's organic discards--food scraps plus paper, cardboard and biodegradable packaging, napkins and dishware--into the composting bins. At the end of each day, director of engineering Marvin Dixon takes the organic waste by truck to the farm. Dixon's truck runs on biodiesel made from the hotel's used cooking oil.

At Two Particular Acres Farm, Foley uses the scraps from the Four Seasons to make compost. The hotel then purchases that for its gardens and landscapes--closing the recycling loop. With 240,000 pounds of organic waste from the kitchen each year, the hotel contributes to the production of a lot of compost.

According to Dixon, the program took two months to take hold in the kitchen. Thanks to the kitchen scrap recycling program, the hotel has reduced its landfill waste by 29 percent. The EPA put together a case study of the Four Seasons Philadelphia's efforts. To see it, click here.

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