Don't Waste, Eat! Food Waste Reduction Programme in Seychelles
2018 recorded more than 350,000 annual tourist arrivals in Seychelles (NBS, 2018). With the support of Betterfly Tourism, the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) conducted preliminary research and found that food waste was on average 282g /meal which is equivalent to 2665 tons of food waste ending up at the landfill. In July 2018 the SSTF officially launched its “Don’t Waste Eat!” Food Waste Reduction Programme in cooperation with Betterfly Tourism.
Seychelles as a small island nation in the Indian Ocean is heavily dependent on imported food products, which means that there is a high food carbon footprint attached to the food consumed. At the same time, currently there are few efforts in composting of organic products, the result being that 48% of the content on our landfill is make up of organic waste (S4S, 2013). In July 2018 the SSTF officially launched its “Don’t Waste Eat!” Food Waste Reduction Programme in cooperation with Betterfly Tourism. The Food Waste Reduction Programme was developed based on initial research, consultations, capacity building, knowledge sharing and technological transfer from Betterfly Tourism. The programme itself serves to equip staff with necessary skills to measure and monitor food waste, provide hotels with a platform (Betterfly software called EDGAR) that facilitates monitoring of cost savings and food waste reduction. In a national context, SSTF seeks to promote synergies between the tourism industry and local food production stakeholders such as farmers, fishermen, food processing industry and other organisations that share the same vision of food redistribution and food waste treatment. Participating hotels subscribe to a one year programme participation with SSTF, which entails an initial 2-day audit and staff training on-site, a subsequent jointly elaborated action plan, regular follow ups and access to the online software EDGAR to track their respective food waste performance based on their measurements. Additionally the SSTF organizes collaborative events etc. Since the launch of the programme the SSTF has successfully audited 5 hotels, trained 12 staff in F&B service, and held a number of activities. With the effort of diverting good food from landfill, hotels joined together with the SSTF to share with the Praslin Island community some of the buffet leftovers and food that was close to expiry for the first national food donation fair. We received the participation of 6 hotel partners, 1 bakery and 3 supermarkets from Praslin. All our partners contributed food products such as bread, pastries, cakes, breakfast buffet leftovers, juice, cornflakes, sauce, water etc. Further the SSTF held 2 awareness raising events/meetings with hotels in July and December, which enabled us to identify some of the needs of hotels and talk about the importance of the programme to make meaningful analysis and call for action by other hotels and governments. The tourism establishments are becoming more aware of how the food waste can be detrimental to the environment and a cost burden. The programme has received good feedback from hotels, especially in line with the staff consciousness of food waste production. Hotels take actions to reduce based on recommendations brought forward by the staff and the trainer/auditor. So far simple actions such as reduction in portion size has resulted to reduction of at least 10kg in plate leftover per week, dishes that were left unnoticed on buffet had to go, and bread is now given on demand rather than served immediately to the guests, to name a few of the measures in place. The aggregated impact of the programme can decrease unsustainable consumption and production, cut down demand for imported products, while allowing our local farmers to thrive, as more value is given to local produce, and good food could be diverted from landfill through redistribution, while others can be composted. As a result to this approach we simultaneously address SDG12.4 tackling food waste and contribute to the notion of circular economy in small island developing states.
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