On-Site Organic Waste Diversion in the U.S. Hospitality Industry

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Waste is playing a larger role in public consciousness driven, in part, by the ubiquity of anti-plastics pollution campaigns, alongside zero-waste commitments from multinational corporations and major urban centers. By volume, organic waste—including food waste—is the largest component of all waste sent to landfills. The hospitality industry plays a significant role in producing food waste. When food decomposes in a landfill, it converts to methane, which has 25 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. To mitigate organic waste, source reduction strategies can be implemented along the food supply chain that result in less waste, and waste that is produced can be repurposed, recycled, or diverted from the landfill by other means.

This project assesses the opportunities and challenges associated with developing on-site, organic waste diversion strategies in the U.S. hospitality industry through literature review and analysis of four case studies from urban hotels with anaerobic digesters. Key findings suggest food waste mitigation within the hospitality industry is attainable and cost-effective; that mitigation strategies will benefit from internal collaboration among key stakeholders and increased consumer awareness; that policy changes will drive an increase in organic waste mitigation; and that there is need for more research on waste diversion within the U.S. hospitality industry and regarding stand-alone anaerobic digesters. These findings support informed development of organic waste diversion strategies at similar private businesses.





Quintal, Sarah (2019). On-Site Organic Waste Diversion in the U.S. Hospitality Industry. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18339.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.