RICHMOND, VA—Some 2,000 pounds of food waste each month will no longer be sent to local land fills, thanks to a New Year’s resolution to “Go Greener” by Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Downtown, housed in the restored Miller & Rhoads building here.
“While we are proud to be a participant in the Virginia Green program, we wanted to expand our efforts by adding composting in 2011,” said John Cario, general manager of the 250-room property. Virginia Green, the state’s program to encourage green practices in tourism, has nearly 1,000 participants, including more than 400 lodging facilities.
Cario explained that his hotel established a composting program in January that led to a weeklong audit of the hotel’s waste generation and recycling efforts. The audit included weighing all materials that were being disposed and conducting a pilot collection of all food prep wastes. The hotel also did a one-day assessment of every single item in every bag of trash, said Cario.
The audit determined that approximately 20%-25% of the total wastes generated by the hotel were food wastes. At that point, the Hilton Garden Inn committed to composting all food prep wastes.
The waste audit further determined that the hotel was recycling only about 12% of its waste materials. Once all of the new recycling and compost efforts are in place, Cario said the hotel expects to divert more than 60% of all wastes from operations.
The Hilton Garden Inn partnered with RVA Green Management Services to help develop its Green Program and to conduct the waste stream audit and composting pilot. The compost is picked up by NOPE (Natural Organics Process Enterprises).
“To be the very first hotel in the region to compost food wastes is an exciting step forward,” said Tom Griffin of RVA Green Management Services.
The Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Downtown is part of the restoration of the historic Miller & Rhoads building that also includes 133 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space.
HRI Lodging, part of New Orleans, LA-based HRI Properties, operates the Hilton Garden Inn.