An initiative against food waste wants to do for hotels what Blue Flag awards do for beaches to curb food waste. Hotels cutting down on waste will be awarded Orange Flags by the Prevention of Food Waste Platform, a nonprofit cooperating with businesses and ministries on the issue. Some 250 hotels in key tourism destinations are expected to join the program in the first stage, and organizers aim to include a wider network of hotels in the project.
Food waste is a major concern at a time when both obesity and hunger claim lives, and apart from personal consumption, excessive consumption of food in tourism facilities raises alarms. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) say some 1.7 billion loaves of bread and 18 million tons of fruits and vegetable go to waste every year in Turkey.All-inclusive deals offered by hotels aggravate the situation as they offer buffet meals for guests, and according to the platform, buffet menus provide 5 kilograms of food per person, no matter how little of it they can consume.
Platform director Ali Akgün told Anadolu Agency (AA) that food waste costs Turkey TL 214 billion yearly and their project aims to curb 70 percent of food waste within five years. The program will focus on how to recycle food and raise awareness among hotel customers on the issue so that they do not dump food they pick from buffet services. Plates used for serving food will be smaller, and hotel staff will be trained on how to prevent waste, while hotels will be adorned with posters raising awareness of the issue. The program will also include children's entertainers, a staple of hotels in vacation resorts, who will educate the children of hotel guests about food waste.
"This is actually not only about dumping food you don't eat. Eating more than you should is another aspect of the issue, as it leads to obesity, a life-threatening issue for many," Akgün added. Organizers plan to include more places in the fight against food waste, from schools to hospitals and military bases. Hotels with an Orange Flag will maintain a recycling process and a process for the proper purchase of food to prevent waste. Food banks will also be set up to deliver food that isn't consumed to needy families. Organizers also plan to hold a series of conferences and seminars across the country to raise awareness on the issue.