Last month, MGM Resorts International (MGM) was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its outstanding efforts in food recovery. The entertainment and hospitality company received a national Food Recovery Challenge award for reducing food waste and, in the process, conserving natural resources. A national leader in the field of food recovery, this is the third EPA food recovery award that MGM has received.
“MGM’s zero waste leadership has redirected edible food to food banks and turned scraps into compost and feed for local livestock. This effort helps reduce waste and costs while feeding people and improving the environment,” said Mike Stoker, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.
“As one of the largest multi-concept restaurant operators in the world, at MGM Resorts we believe it is our responsibility to help solve complex environmental problems such as managing food waste,” said Cindy Ortega, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for MGM Resorts. “Bellagio exemplifies the innovative approach and can-do attitude needed to recover food of all types, at significant scale.”
MGM’s Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is one of 13 recipients who received the national 2018 Food Recovery Challenge Award, and the only recipient in Nevada. The award was given for outstanding, data-driven achievements in food diversion and recovery.
Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is one of MGM Resorts International’s 28 hotel destinations and has played a major role in the company’s long-running program to reduce and recover food waste. In 2017, Bellagio implemented a new program to donate unserved food from hotel events, mini bars, and the hotel’s warehouses to Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas. Through this innovative program, the hotel has donated over 54,400 pounds of food, the equivalent of over 45,000 meals, to help those who are food insecure in the local community.
Company-wide from 2007 to 2018, MGM Resorts International has repurposed over 150,000 tons of food waste to donations, biofuels, compost and pig farms where it is used as feed for livestock. In 2018, the Bellagio Hotel and Casino Las Vegas diverted 2,210 tons of food waste to pig farms, a 16 percent increase from 2017, and a 455 percent increase from 2015.
In 2018, the Bellagio recycled 120 tons of cooking grease and expanded its oyster shell recycling program. The hotel’s restaurants diverted over 20,000 pounds of oyster shells from landfills and used them to replenish oyster habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. By sending used oyster shells back to the bay, the hotel is improving water quality of the bay and helping re-establish a healthy ocean ecosystem.
The hotel has also addressed reducing food waste through employee outreach and education. In hosting several green fairs for employees, the Bellagio provided tips on how reduce food waste on the job and at home.
The EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge partners with over 1,000 organizations and businesses to prevent and reduce wasted food. The participants include groups such as grocers, educational institutions, sports and entertainment venues, restaurants and hotels. The program saves money, helps communities reduce hunger, and protects the environment by purchasing less, donating extra food and composting. In 2017, participants prevented or diverted almost 648,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving participants up to $31.2 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.