In an unconventional move, an eco-luxury resort in Coorg, Karnataka ropes its customers in working towards reducing the food wastage.
The Ibnii Spa and Resort, in their novel initiative, weigh the food wasted by the guests and add it to their final bill. The resort charges an amount of ₹100 per 10 gram of the leftovers. The money charged on the waste is to be dropped into the donation box which goes into buying provisions including groceries to a not-for-profit organization that feeds children at an orphanage.
"We strive to educate our guests. This shouldn't be a journey specific to curbing wastage of food in the resort, we aim at initiating and living through building consciousness regarding the importance of the availability of food, and also water. Making people aware that wastage is a big problem," Shreya Krishnan, CSR Advisor of the resort, told The Logical Indian.
Idea From Behavioural Pattern
The unique idea was implemented after the resort's management noticed a behavioural pattern. "One day, while seated for breakfast, during a meeting, we noticed a lot of food being wasted, untouched on the plates. At buffets we tend to put everything on our plate, piling food that we do not essentially want and eventually are unable to consume," Krishnan said.
This was the moment when "Weigh The Waste, Feed A Child" initiative was ideated and implemented. After every meal, the food waste generated by each table (room) at the restaurant is weighed, according to the weight of the waste the guests are charged.
She further explained that there was extensive research behind implementing the program. Around 25 per cent of the drinking water present in the world is used in cooking food that is often left unconsumed. One-third of the greenhouse gases are emitted because of an improper waste management system i.e. wasted food that is left untreated.
"The research led to such astounding statistics and we realized it is important and imperative as a sustainable resort to implementing the practices we spoke of," added Krishnan.
Initially, the resort faced challenges during the execution of the initiative. "Some of our guests understand and really appreciate the move. Some have gone back and shared photographs of clean plates hinting at their zero-wastage lives while with some we do encounter attitude challenges when they say they have paid for it and have rights to do anything," Krishnan said.
The staff is trained to explain the guests on the initiative and also educating on sustainability in simple ways and contributing towards protecting the planet.
"We have seen a drastic decrease in the quantity of food waste. From fourteen bins every day, we now only need to manage waste for one bin a day. This has not only helped us create awareness amongst our guests for food wastage and related issues, but it has also helped us build a more conscious and responsible community of people," she added.
The Logical Indian Take
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), up to 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted.
It is estimated that a staggering 190.7 million people being are undernourished in India. By this measure, 14.5 per cent of the population is undernourished in India. If we can reduce the food wastage by even 20 per cent, there would be enough food for every undernourished person. In such a scenario the efforts of the resorts are not only commendable but educating as well.
The resort's efforts were encouraged by many guests. Several of them have shared pictures of the weighing machine and lauded the resort's initiative.
Wasted! A weighing machine at the cafe. To weigh your wasted food and charge you 100 rupees for every 10 grams. Definitely made @pinkychandran and me conscious of leaving our plates clean! Well done @TheIbnii_Coorg #WeighTheWaste #Bold #SustainableTourism #ResponsibleTourism pic.twitter.com/iaDv6KSgX4— Bala.OriginalWala (@Girisham1) January 23, 2020
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.— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) February 17, 2020
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