Las Vegas Sands conducted its annual Global Clean Plate Challenge in an effort to reduce its environmental impact on the environment through its award-winning program, Sands ECO360. The company encourages its Team Members to be conservative with their food quantities during the clean plate challenge, but also the rest of the year.
“Unfortunately here in Macao, we do not have the space or resources to do composting or have methods in place to treat garbage produced at the properties, but we do the Clean Plate Challenge several times a year for Team Member awareness,” Stephanie Zhao, senior manager of sustainability in Macao, said. “The campaign is aimed to reduce the amount of food Team Members take from the buffet in our Team Member Dining Rooms (TDR) so that they do not take more than they can consume.”
In the seven TDR’s at Macao properties, leftover food that hasn’t been consumed is disposed into a food waste digestion machine. Through this machine, the properties are eliminating 100% of the food that hasn’t been consumed and would otherwise go into landfill. In addition to the food waste digester, Macao properties are currently running a pilot project in three of their restaurants where they are utilizing technology to reduce pre-consumer waste by up to 65%. The project is currently running well according to Zhao, and the properties will be implementing it in the remaining food outlets in the future. The properties also manage their consumption when ordering for the dining rooms, focusing on quality and quantity to feed over 30,000 Team Members.
“We plan the menu a month ahead to place the order early, ensuring we order the proper amount,” Zhao said. “If we have ordered more than needed, we create dishes with the excess that can be added to the food line. All food that is ordered will be used, consumed and repurposed. The first event ever held in Macao was in May 2014, with the goal of decreasing food waste and promoting the initiative to Team Members. Now, in its fifth year, the goal remains the same: decrease the waste of food, increase recycling and save on both social responsibility and cost as well. During this event, we were able to reduce our food waste by over 2,300 pounds.”
In Las Vegas, The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo Team Members participated in Responsible Consumption Week. Throughout the week of July 9, the following events took place at Pronto, the TDR at The Palazzo: Zero Waste Cooking Demo, Clean Plate Challenge, Strawless Challenge and Linen Napkin Challenge. A total of 4,685 Team Members participated in Responsible Consumption Week. For the Zero Waste Cooking Demo, the property sustainability team had TDR chef de cuisine Eric Piston demonstrate how to cook sustainably.
“The goal is to use everything you can when cooking,” Piston said to a group of Team Members attending the demonstration. “For potatoes, when you’ve peeled them, most of us usually discard the peels and just use the insides for a meal. You can also use the peels as potato starch, much like you’d use corn starch to thicken sauces. Just soak the peels for one to two days and the starch collects at the bottom. You can also fry the peels for three to four minutes and eat them like a potato chip. Everything can be used when cooking.”
Piston also demonstrated how to use broccoli and asparagus stems for homemade cream of broccoli or asparagus soups, just boiling them until soft and adding cream, beef or chicken scraps can be boiled and used as stock for future use, and also berries that are bruised or not attractive, can be boiled with sugar to make a sauce for waffles and pancakes or as jam for morning toast.
“In the TDR, we chill all leftovers to donate to local homeless kitchens and shelters,” he said. “We are able to feed 300 to 400 people and also reduce our food waste by 75%. We used to dump 15 to 20 pans of food and we have been able to repurpose this food for better use. We will continue to reduce our waste and be sustainable in our locally-sourced meats, fish and produce. There’s always a new way we can reduce our food waste and consumption.”