News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA Honors MGM Resorts International Bellagio Hotel and Casino for Leading Food Recovery Efforts Nationwide
LAS VEGAS – Today, MGM Resorts International - Bellagio Hotel 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. This is the fourth EPA food recovery award that MGM has received.
“Food Recovery Challenge participants are leaders in showing how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food to people is an environmental win and a cost-saving business decision,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Their accomplishments serve as excellent examples to other companies, governments, organizations and communities.”
“MGM’s zero waste leadership has reduced food waste, redirected edible food to food banks, and turned scraps into feed for local livestock and biofuel,” said John Busterud, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “These efforts have helped people in need and dramatically reduced waste to protect the environment.”
“MGM is one of the largest multi-concept restaurant owners in the world, and as such we believe it is our responsibility to manage food waste responsibly and effectively,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, Vice President Corporate Sustainability at MGM. “As a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion, we are committed to supporting the national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030, and we look to the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy to help prioritize our efforts.”
In 2018, the Bellagio diverted over 3,700 tons of food waste from landfills, 26 percent more than in 2017. Most of this food waste, over 2,000 tons, was comprised of food scraps that were sent to a local pig farm. The second largest volume, over 1,400 tons, was brown and yellow grease that was collected and converted into biofuel.
Through one of MGM Resorts International’s most important and innovative programs, Feeding Forward, the Bellagio donated 24 tons of unserved food from the resort to people in need. This included perishable prepared food from events, perishable unprepared food from kitchens, and non-perishable food from warehouses and minibars. This success was enabled by a strong partnership with Three Square Food Bank and active support from the Bellagio’s culinary and catering teams.
Also in 2018, the Bellagio collected over 10 tons of oyster shells from its restaurants and banquets, dried them in Las Vegas, and then shipped them to support oyster replenishment efforts for ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to these food waste diversion efforts, Bellagio has implemented multiple source reduction programs to avoid food waste being generated at the start. This includes, but is not limited to, food waste analysis, portion and plate size reduction, and employee and client communications to encourage responsible consumption.
Food is a valuable resource. Efforts to reduce food waste and ensure excess food doesn’t go to waste are needed now more than ever. The innovation businesses like MGM are showcasing can serve as examples as the nation works together to address the COVID-19 public health emergency. Over 1,000 businesses, governments and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge in 2019. Participants prevented or diverted over 815,000 tons of food from entering landfills or incinerators, saving participants up to $42.3 million in avoided landfill tipping fees.
For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge/
Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region, which implements and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.