Food Waste Management Sustainability Challenges

by Jason Shaw

Section 1: Background

In terms of food waste control, there are many challenges worldwide. This has called for a need to encourage conservation organisations to come up and give a threat to individuals that allows them reduce their food waste considerably. Food wasting itself is a huge societal issue that everybody around the globe wants to resolve with immediate impact. Therefore, numerous organisations are out to see the practise of food wastage placed into effect. Initiatives on the same activities that minimise food waste are also necessary which would contribute to a decline in food waste. In reality, the agencies encourage everybody to make sure they reduce their food waste to the maximum degree possible (Zanaolli, par 1, 2012).

As a city, Hong Kong is engaged in practises aimed at building awareness of the atmosphere and nutrient problems created by food waste. To see this happen, the city of Hong Kong can eventually handle food that is lost in the city and its surroundings in the task of sustainability. In particular, this study considers Hong Kong’s Langham Hotel and its effort to control food waste in order to provide city dwellers with a sustainable solution. For this cause, minimising food waste needs policies to boost the bottom line, helping the city to minimise greenhouse facility pollution (McKinney, par 2, 2014).

Hong Kong is already facing a difficulty in the handling of food waste. It currently disposes of discarded food and other urban solid waste (MSW) in various landfills (Environment Protection Department, par 1, 2014). As a consequence, different shades of urban solid waste and agricultural waste are disposed of. Many of the discarded food comes from commercial sectors in Hong Kong, among others, including market places, restaurants and food manufacturing and processing industries. There is no better approach with respect to disposing of biodegradable waste at landfills in Hong Kong. This is because insufficient landfill capacity is undesirably diminished and exhausted. It comes with other pitfalls that involve bad odour production, leaches and landfill gases. Both of these require more measures to minimise their detrimental environmental effects. The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong would have a strong basis for tackling the issue of sustainability connected with food waste management.

The pie charts below indicate disposal of solid wastes at landfills as well as the composition of municipal solid waste and its recovery in the year 2011 (Leong, Chan and Tsang, par 7, 2012):

Food Waste Management Sustainability Challenges

Section 2: The Sustainability Challenge

The world’s number one risk of health points out to hunger and malnutrition. Research has it that mare people succumb to hunger at a greater deal compared to malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis when the three are combined together. In truth, out of seven people all over the world, one of them goes hungry each day. In Hong Kong, it is evident that 300,000 children miss a meal every day. It means that the three hundred children do not get the expected three meals a day but rather miss either one or two meals with each passing day. Moreover, parents, guardians or other adult people in Hong Kong struggle to get and meet their basic nutrition requirements. Most of them also go hungry and fail to get the three meals a day.

Hong Kong as a city entails individuals that live in sheer poverty. It is good governance that reduces this poverty level (The Panos Institute, 22, 2000). In truth, out of every five people dwelling in Hong Kong, one lives in poverty. The monthly poverty line for a family that dwells in Hong Kong is HK$3, 275. Despite this, Langham hotel in Hong Kong produces a substantial amount regarding regular food waste. As a matter of fact, it produces more that 750 kilograms of food that is wasted. In addition to this, the hotel is unable to reach the needy people that ultimately go hungry when a lot of food get wasted and disposed by the hotel.

The sole reason behind the inability of Langham hotel to give food to the hungry revolves around hygiene policies (Global and Local, 69, 2005). The policies would not allow food to be distributed to the hungry that are in need of it. As a result, all the wasted food from Langham hotel in Hong Kong finds their way to the landfills that have been described above. The wasted food on the other hand is utilized for methane production at the landfills. This initiative poses another environmental challenge and does not help in mitigating the negative impacts that disposal of biodegradable food waste have on the environment.

Food Waste Management Sustainability Challenges

From sustainability and business point of view as well, food wastage means a lot. In the first place, improved food handling processes provide alternatives that could be applied for a better society. For example, it is evident that wasted food can not only be used in composite making but also redistributed to the needy (Fredrikstad, 12, 2014). This is because so many individuals require food and therefore, not in a position to get some by themselves. Considering food redistribution is an act that is practical and that bears a substantial amount of effort. Food redistribution has benefits that include reduction of methane gas production at the landfills in Hong Kong.

It is good to note that food redistribution is an initiative that has support from many agencies all over the world as a corporate social responsibility (CSR) that requires effort from all individuals in the society. People therefore meet at social value interface (Ray Georgeson Resources, 9, n.d). For the purpose of improving cost effectiveness, composite programs need to be increased as well. Organizations have taken actions to curb challenges that food wastage poses. It is quite evident that they have resolved to get involved in Hong Kong’s program revolving around Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that aims at making composite from he wasted food.

Several reasons led to the establishment of EPA in the earlier days. The sole reason however, refers to its ability to meet demands of the general public that requires a safer environment that is void of harm in the environment (Kwon, 17, 2009). EPA has come up with appropriate structures that handle environmental issues. In this, EPA ensures that there is order and guidelines that protects the environment as it improves its indices (Kwon, 17, 2009). In addition to these, EPA regards waste management as a major element that preserves all that surrounds us. This ranges from the air that people breathe, to water that all living things utilize as well as the soil that is responsible for plant growth and sustenance.

In terms of food waste management, EPA in Hong Kong as well as other parts around the world is determined to see that the industry improves from one level to another. However, food waste management entails a lot of challenges as it will be illustrated below. Moreover, EPA addresses food waste management in details has fundamental objectives that help managements in curbing the challenge. As Kwon (18, 209) notes, food waste is generated from various places. For instance, he observes that it is generated through food flow that comes from farms to the end users and consumers.

Above all, food wastes trace their origin from supermarkets, food manufacturers as well as food processors. Additionally, households and food service operations entail food waste depicted in leftovers and food scraps. They are the major components of food waste that become solid waste that the municipal together with other organizations struggle to management. They do this with an aim of providing environment that is safe to live in. They take the challenge positively and find positive measures that ultimately maintain a safer and sterile environment fit for stay. Hotels apply the recommended measure and uphold them as will be discusses later in this paper.

Section 3: Critical Analysis

Considering the critical analysis of Hong Kong and the sustainability challenge, there are relevant contextual issues that are brought forth. For instance, it is clear that Hong Kong’s economy is based on services that take place on daily basis. At the same time, wasted food in Hong Kong contributes to a third of the total solid wastes. Landfills received 3,200 tonnes of wasted food every day. This is an elevated level of food waste depicted in Hong Kong. It poses a problem to the Hong Kong municipality because currently there is a deficiency in landfills for disposing wasted food. In terms of capacity, there are three remaining landfills in honk Kong. Even for them, there is inadequate capacity and research has it that the space remaining will be soon exhausted. Particularly, the remaining capacities for the three landfills in Hong Kong will be exhausted before the end of 2014, 2016 and 2018 respectively.

In terms of emerging trends in the food industry, sustainability focuses on practices that will reduce wastage. In the first place, food wastage management is a corporate social responsibility that needs involvement of all individuals in the community (Government of Canada, par 3, 2011). Secondly, applying sustainable practices that revolves around reducing the amount of food wasted, reusing the reusable and recycling the used ones to produce substantially better products is vital. These should be based on three R’s that stand for reduce, reuse and recycle (Langham Hospitality Investments Annual Report, 2013).

Food recycling is a trend in the industry that aims at managing food waste as evident in Hong Kong. In this practice, wasted food is divided into distinct categories. The first refers to usable food and the other unusable food. The usable food is them recycled and put in the right condition then ultimately distributed to the poor. N the other hand, the unusable food is processed yet again to produce composite as well as food for the fish. In Hong Kong, this practice has been common and city dwellers apply it for the betterment of other members of the society that need food. It is a sustainable practice that ensures that the environment is managed as required to avoid negative impacts associated with food disposal at the landfills. Recycle, reuse and reduce principle encourages city dwellers to live in an environment that favors all individuals.

To help in mitigating problems associated with food wastage, there are a number of key stakeholders in Hong Kong that are responsible for this. In the first place is Hong Kong’s environmental protection agency (EPA) that solely deals with environmental issues brought about by food industry. Secondly, the local government also plays a fundamental role in controlling food and solid wastage in Hong Kong. Additionally, other NGOs like Food Angel play fundamental roles in food distribution to the poor. For the purpose of benchmarking, there are other organizations that perform in this sector. This includes Crown Plaza Hotel.

Reviewing existing literature about food management and the strategies involved depicts a cleaner and a sustainable environment. There are waste management strategies and hierarchy that portrays a framework utilized by administrators around the world. The hierarchy fundamentally begins with prevention and reduction of food that is wasted at its source. The second alternative is donating remaining food that is meant for human consumption. Thirdly, the hierarchy entails recycling that ultimately recovers that lost energy. The fourth alternative is about treatment of municipal solid waste as the last is about a clean land filling after treating the wasted food (Environment Protection Department, par 3, 2014). Additionally, waste mapping is a strategy involved in waste management. It focuses on the quantity of wasted food that is produced from their sources, types of wastes that is produced as well as the exact places that wasted food is sourced.

Many hotels in Hong Kong apply different food waste reduction approaches that help in feeding the world’s starving individuals (Hepker, par 1, 2014). These include food waste tracking system, reduction of plate size, decreasing portion size as well as food donation to the poor. Furthermore, existing literature has it that labeling food products and assuring their eco-friendliness is a strategy that focuses in reducing food wastage. Again, analyzing the food waste life cycle is another important strategy that validates practicality involved in food industry. Through lifecycle food waste assessment method, it has been noted that greenhouse emissions of gases preventable food waste can be estimated (Scott and Andersson, 255, n.d.).

Langham hotel in Hong Kong is not exceptional in experiencing challenges associated with sustainability and food waste management. In the first place, the hotel produces 750 kilograms of wasted food on a daily basis (Langham Hong Kong Treatment of Food Waste, 2, 2009). To help in managing the hotel has only one strategy in place. They uphold composite as the only means of utilizing the  in Hong Kong. However, the hotel regards other possible strategies like producing fish meal out of the wasted food as well as human food that is distributed to the poor.

Regarding the above alternatives that the hotel has, there are several implications that have been put into place. It is quite difficult for the hotel to utilize their  to produce meal for the fish and at a lesser instance make food for distribution to the poor with an expectation of fully managing the food waste influx on a daily basis. This calls for other means that Langham needs to uphold in order to handle food waste issue. Again, it would be important for the hotel to improve ways of handling their food so that it may be easy for them t re-use their food and distribute it to the poor. Besides the implications considered above, Langham hotel should use the unusable food to produce food for the fish. Fish is bought at expensive prices in Hong Kong, a situation that bars the poor from getting fish. To curb this, fish in Hong Kong should be sold at subsidized prices to enable the poor access them and utilize them as food.

Considering the above means that Langham will be in a better position to utilize its food waste. It will also ensure that the company’s corporate social responsibility is elevated for the betterment of the society. The consideration will reduce Hong Kong’s poverty level as it increases the social well being of city dwellers and neighboring communities. Moreover, the strategies regarding reduction of methane production and landfills will ensure that there is an immense reduction of environmental pollution. As an unpacking implementation for Langham hotel, the management is bound to ensure that it takes part and supports that government and its efforts directed towards mitigation of environmental negative impacts associated with food waste.

Efforts of mitigating the described effects of food waste meet several barriers, opportunities and risks. Identification of such barriers puts the organization at a better position of handling all that is required for ethical food sourcing, handling and distribution. Again, knowledge concerning the barriers makes help in predicting impending risks, allows for earlier determination of how to curb the risks and manage them foe a greener society.  For that reason, the hotel needs to identify the risks and opportunities associated with sustainability challenge depicted in Hong Kong’s Langham Hotel. (Barriers associated with food waste management)

The barriers that the hotel meets on its ladder include lack of sufficient resources that would be used in driving recycling processes. In the same way, there is inadequate land that Hong Kong requires for establishment of plants that are ultimately used recycling fish meal. This is because of high cost associated with land ownership in Hong Kong. Additionally, the plants are expensive to acquire and their management pose a challenge to the food waste sector. Another barrier id portrayed in terms of storage, transport as well as other issues involved in food waste management. In Hong Kong, tracks that are used to transport the , storage facilities that harbor the food before their recycling as well as expenses associated with their management pose a great challenge in the industry.

However, there are various opportunities that come with management. In the first place, the government is out to support the initiative that different organizations come up with. In this case, the government support recycling initiatives as it make good use of funds allocated for the same. Additionally, the government is there to help organizations that are willing to adopt its reduction first strategy. It is therefore clear that opportunities are there to help in curbing the problems associated with food waste management.

Moreover, non-governmental organizations are also out to help in minimizing the negative effects associated with the wasted food that comes from hotels and other food processing industries. This is manifested in practicalities of NGOs like UNEP that have first save programs at hand. In the event that food needs redistribution to the needy, NGOs have been at the fore front to ensure that the activity takes place appropriately. For example, Food Angel is an organization that deals with recycled food redistribution to the needy and the poor that dwell in distinct regions. In Hong Kong, their practicality is evident and makes individuals that live in poverty find relief. It performs numerous rescue activities to the hunger stricken individuals.

Another initiative that would help immensely in managing is about the earlier described re-use of food in making fish meal. In this case, NGOs have got plans that aim at securing food processing plants. These are then utilized in the right way to produce food for fish. Ultimately, they do all it takes to minimize negative impacts associated with food waste especially when it comes to considering meant to be disposed at the landfills. Instead of letting them get disposed, the NGOs handle them again to be taken to the needy in the society.  

Section 4: Conclusions

From the above discussion, it has been evident that a number of issues revolve around food waste management. Because of the issues, several organizations have come up to find ways and means of curbing the problems. The ultimate aim is to provide environment that is sustainable, the one that stands the challenged posed by food waste. As had been seen above, Hong Kong has a number of individuals that leave in poverty. Instead of feeding landfills with food, it is important to feed the hungry and the needy. It is a better initiative that NGOs have taken to work together with the local government and key stakeholders to come up with appropriate strategies to mitigate effects of food waste. Langham hotel in Hong Kong is involved in the measures that aim at creating a safer environment as seen above.


Because of the discussion above, there are several recommendations that would make all the strategies discussed above work. In the first place, Langham hotel and other organizations in Hong Kong need to improve their food handling processes and methods. This will ensure that the quality of waste food is good enough for reuse, recycling redistribution. The Langham hotel and other organisations need to collaborate with competent NGOs, such as Food Angel and Big Waster, in the same way. It will lead to redistributing food waste to the people who require it. Another proposal leads to the introduction of the first plan to further curb the

Environmental Problem of Government Waste Reduction

There is also a need to create plants that provide fish meal. Partnership with the business sector is advised to do this. In addition to this, it is important to offer premium fish in Hong Kong at a discounted price such that poor citizens can afford it. This will not only minimise food waste, it will also help to eliminate the extent of poverty as it alleviates the deprivation faced by many citizens of Hong Kong.

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