New Delhi: About one-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted every year, as estimated by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. This amounts to almost 1.3 billion tonnes per year loss of food while on the other hand, FAO says that 11.3 per cent of the world’s population is hungry. With an aim to tackle food wastage on its campus and to make others aware about the problem of hunger, The Ibnii Spa Resort in Madikeri, a hill town in Coorg, Karnataka which was established four years ago came up with an initiative last year called ‘weigh the waste’. As part of this initiative, the resort charges its customer for the food they waste. The proceeds from this initiative go to feed children at orphanages.
While talking to NDTV about the initiative, Shreya Krishnan, marketing executive of the resort said that it is a three-step process. As the first step, the leftover food of each guest is weighed at the end of a meal on a weighing scale in front of them and the quantity is notified. This then is tracked through the course of the stay and the guests are given the final quantity at checkout. The second step is to charge the guests for the leftovers at the rate of Rs. 100 per 10 gram. The third step involves donating the money collected from guests to a not-for-profit organisation that feeds children at orphanages. She said,
About a year ago, one morning on the breakfast table, we observed that a lot of food was being wasted. Then we noticed that this was happening almost everyday. Our composting team also said that a lot of food is wasted everyday by guests. Then we decided to do something about this. So we started this project. Food wastage is wrong. It is unfair to the farmers who work hard to grow the food and the chefs who prepare the dishes. It is also a huge insult to the people who struggle to gather two square meals. With this project, we aim to reduce leftovers and urge guests to be mindful of the food they leave on their plates and also help the needy.
Ms. Krishnan further said that money collected under the initiative goes into a donation box which is opened once in two months. After the last opening of the box that took place in December, the resort donated the amount collected to an orphanage Children’s Home For Girls run by Women and Child Welfare Office, Government of Karnataka. Kaveramma, Councillor at the orphanage shared that in addition to food, with support received from the resort, they also bought one inverter, an electric device that work as a backup power supply, for the facility and two cupboards. She said,
The girls felt very special when the people from the resort came to visit them with so much of good food. They also appreciate the inverter and cupboards.
According to her, there has been no protest from the guests against this initiative and in fact, they have tried to reduce the food wastage. She further said that the resort was already practising composting of the leftovers and other kitchen waste in the campus and the manure thus produced was added in various kitchen gardens of the resort. She said,
The impact of the initiative is evident from the fact that the number of composting bin of capacity 550 kilograms deployed in the 125-acre campus of the resort has reduced from 14 to one. Earlier, the resort generated 14 large bins of waste on a daily basis. But one year after the program was implemented that amount has reduced to one bin a day.
‘Weigh the waste’ initiative of the resort has been lauded by netizens as well after a tweet was shared about the initiative by a businessman who wrote,
At Ibnii Resort in Coorg, food wasted by guests is weighed and billed to the guests at Rs. 100 per 10 gm. The proceeds go to an NGO that feeds children at an orphanage.
At Ibnii Resort in Coorg, food wasted by guests is weighed and billed to the guests at Rs 100 per 10 gm. The proceeds go to an NGO that feeds children at an orphanage.
Good news is that none of the guests are unhappy about this rule and waste bins have come down from 14 to 1. pic.twitter.com/9DC3ZbQiN2
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) February 17, 2020
Another user Sai Subramaniam appreciated the programme and hoped that other restaurants and resorts do the same.
Great Idea! This should be made mandatory in all restaurants.
— Sai Subramaniam (@saisudar74259) February 17, 2020
Another person wrote,
Superb, Food must never be wasted, take how much one can eat!
Superb, Food must never be wasted, take how much one can eat!
— Ashish Vaid (@AshishVaid_9) February 17, 2020
Reducing food loss and waste is critical to create a Zero Hunger world and reaching the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 (End Hunger) and SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns). Nanda Nachappa, Senior Health Officer, at Madikeri Municipal Council said,
Wasting of food is equivalent to committing a sin. It is encouraging to see that a resort is trying to reduce food waste and is even managing its own waste. More restaurants and resorts should follow this. In all 23 wards of Madikeri about three tonnes of waste is generated everyday which is segregated fully but only plastic waste goes for incineration in a cement factory. Only a bit of solid waste is recycled due to lack of recycling facilities and a bit of wet waste is being used for composting. If all restaurants, resorts and even household work towards reducing food waste and manage the waste generated in their kitchen by using composting bins, it will not only help reduce the burden of waste on the civic body but will also prove to be positive for the environment.
Other Green Efforts Of The Resort
Apart from working towards reducing food wastage, the resort has a ‘no single-use plastic’ policy under which they tell their guest not to bring in any kind of single-use plastic in the resort at the time of booking. Located in the lush green forest of Coorg, the resort followS various other eco-friendly steps to minimise its carbon footprints. The guests are encouraged to walk in the campus instead of taking vehicles and only electric vehicles are allowed inside the campus. Guests are encouraged to be more energy-efficient and ensure minimum water wastage. As per Ms. Krishnan, the resort has four water catchment area which helps in adding to the water table and a water treatment plant that recycles the wastewater. Along with this, the resort also uses eco-friendly soaps and detergent with low PH (potential of hydronium ions levels). In order to build eco-consciousness among the staff, the resort administration also conducts an eco-pledge every morning at 8 am where the staff members promise to take care of the environment and adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle.