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Fairmont says “grease is the word” with innovative recycling initiative

As the search for alternative fuel sets some of the world's largest companies on new business paths, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a leader in responsible travel and longstanding environmental steward, is proud to provide its own take on the topic: recycling kitchen oils, rather than discarding them. Expert food preparation requires the use of oils, creating waste, which is unavoidable in the hotel industry - so what to do with all that leftover cooking oil?

As part of the brand's focus and commitment to sustainability, more than 22 Fairmont locations worldwide are reducing their waste disposal costs and supporting the switch to a cleaner economy by manufacturing used kitchen oils into biodiesel, a domestic and renewable fuel derived from natural oils. No one method or solution is universal and biodiesel initiatives vary by property. At The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, the hotel gets the job done by partnering with Yokayo Bio-Fuels, a local biodiesel firm, to gather approximately 150 gallons of kitchen grease each quarter, turning it into tallow or feed. The Fairmont Scottsdale has also teamed up with an outside firm to transform leftover oil into fuel for vineyards and other businesses that rely on diesel, generators, forklifts and cars. The resort collected 1,901 gallons in 2008 and 650 gallons so far in 2009, for a total of 2,551 gallons of grease to date, which in turn has been recycled into biodiesel; enough to supply the annual fuel consumption of approximately five cars. By not discarding the kitchen grease down the drain, other benefits are also realized including fewer clogged pipes and reduced use of harmful chemicals to clear drains and treat wastewater systems.

At The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, grease is transformed into fuel to power grounds equipment and two resort shuttle buses that play a DVD informing guests about fuel conversion and other green initiatives at the hotel, while The Fairmont Banff Springs, in conjunction with a local high school under the direction of the Zero Emission Research Institute, alters cooking oils to operate golf course maintenance equipment. The Fairmont Winnipeg donates used cooking oil, approximately 4,700 liters each year, to Biodiesel Manitoba Inc., a company dedicated to the research and development of products to assist the expansion of Manitoba's biodiesel industry, whereas The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver works with West Coast Reductions, the largest independent rendering company in Western Canada, to recycle approximately 180 liters of kitchen oil each week.

In the same vein, The Fairmont Washington D.C. has partnered with The Greener Oil Company to collect kitchen grease to be recycled and used in the production of biodiesel fuel, and recycles approximately 325 gallons each quarter, while the Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland turns leftover oils into power for its shuttle bus and other on-property equipment. Fairmont Singapore recycles used kitchen oil as well as paper, plastic, glass and metal, and managed to recycle 6.49 tons of cooking oil in the beginning of 2009, resulting in a cost savings of $3,245.

London's The Savoy works with one of the UK's leading processors of used cooking oils. While closed and undergoing an extensive restoration, the hotel's prestigious Simpson's-in-the-Strand restaurant remains open. Waste from food preparation and plate scrapings are sorted into separate bins provided by recycling management group PDM. The company currently collects the waste weekly, which is then taken to PDM's organic biomass-to-energy renewable power plant where the food products are processed to recover liquid fat, which is used in the manufacture of biofuels. The hotel expects to generate enough energy through this process to power the daily lighting requirements of 10% of the hotel's guestrooms upon reopening in 2010 - helping to reduce the hotel's carbon footprint.

Other Fairmont hotels participating in oil conversion efforts include The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Royal York, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel, The Fairmont Southampton, The Fairmont Newport Beach, The Fairmont Monte Carlo, Fairmont Mayakoba, Fairmont Château Laurier, The Fairmont Kea Lani, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, and The Fairmont Empress.

Fairmont's biodiesel initiative complements the brand's ambitious announcement made last year to combat climate change alongside WWF. Working closely with the global conservation organization, Fairmont has measured its CO2 footprint, set a world-class CO2 reduction target and has subsequently become a member of WWF's global Climate Savers program. By developing a Fairmont-wide emission reduction plan with WWF and introducing it's new Energy and Carbon Management program, Fairmont has secured its position as an environmentally progressive hospitality company.

For close to two decades, Fairmont has strived to minimize its impact on the planet through its award-winning Green Partnership program, a comprehensive platform focused on key areas such as waste reduction, energy management, water conservation, and innovative community outreach programs. In a sign of corporate leadership, the company also encourages others to follow in its footsteps and has developed the Green Partnership Guide, a how-to text that any company can obtain to create or grow their environmental programming. For more information on Fairmont's Green Partnership program, please visit www.fairmont.com/environment.

 

This article first appears in ehotelier.com on July 20, 2009

 






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