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Published September 27, 2007 08:53 AM

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Finds Unique, Creative Ways to Reduce Waste

TORONTO—Fairmont Hotels’ commitment to protecting the environment is nothing new. For more than 15 years, Fairmont’s participation in comprehensive recycling and environmental protection programs has demonstrated its goal to minimize its impact on the planet. And the results have been tangible. But the effort goes beyond the expected. Each of the hotels within the Fairmont collection is making a difference in often unique and unheard of ways.

If there’s one thing a luxury hotel offers its guests, it’s fine wine and delectable cuisine. But what to do with all those pesky wine corks and leftover food looms large. Individual Fairmont hotels have devised distinctive solutions to this age-old dilemma. At Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, wine corks are donated to a local Girl Guide outfit as part of their Bag a Cork Program. Rather than end up in a landfill, these natural corks are reused in everything from flooring to floats, clothing to coasters. The Girl Guides have saved more than five tons of cork from clogging up landfills.

In addition, every Fairmont guest knows that upon checking out, they’ll surely leave one thing behind: a used bar of soap. What happens to all those messy blobs? The Fairmont Queen gives them new life by donating them to Laboratoire Dermoderm, which mixes natural volcanic stone with the high glycerin content of luxurious brands such as Miller Harris and Penthaglion. The result is an effective cleaning cream that removes grease, paint, pine gum, ink and tar from the hands of mechanics, gardeners and artists.

Unscrambling Egg Waste Problems

Alternatively, animals benefit, as well. Colorful peacocks are one of nature’s most striking birds. They certainly deserve to be well fed and happy. And that’s just what the Fairmont Algonquin does daily. The uneaten scrambled eggs on the breakfast buffet are fed to these gorgeous creatures at neighboring Kingsbrae Gardens in New Brunswick. Rather than simply be thrown away, the eggs become tasty treats for these feathered friends. If that weren’t enough, the hotel gets even more creative with its coffee grinds, which are transformed into golf course tee-off mounds.

When it comes to human treats, for many guests, it just wouldn’t be breakfast without bacon. But, firstly, it takes pigs to make bacon. Switzerland’s Fairmont Le Montreux Palace contributes to the growth of healthy porkers by packing up leftovers and donating it to local pig farmers. The Fairmont Orchid also does its share for sustainable agriculture by supporting a local pig farmer on the Big Island of Hawaii with uneaten portions from the resort’s cafeteria.

Always concerned with putting their best foot forward, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess continually combines their concern for the environment with their wish to help those in need. Faced with more than 2,700 pairs of spa sandals that needed to be replaced, the hotel donated the footwear to Hope 4 Kids International rather than discarding them. The sandals were then redirected by the organization to help underprivileged children in Uganda.

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Homeless Benefit from Donations

Helping the less fortunate is an important humanitarian objective. And it’s one the Fairmont Chateau Laurier takes seriously. It has formed a partnership with the Ottawa Mission, which, just like the Second Harvest program at the Fairmont Royal York and the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, allows unused food to be donated to homeless shelters in the community. The effort helps reduce waste and truly assists those in need.

But nuts-and-bolts recycling still remains the cornerstone of a conscientious environmental program. Fairmont has not overlooked this imperative. Since 1992, the Fairmont Newfoundland has diverted more than 1 million pounds of cardboard and paper from the landfill. Over half a million glass and plastic bottles have been sent off to be reused, reducing the impact on the environment.

The Fairmont Royal York’s recycling program also includes office paper, newspaper, aluminum, tin, batteries, toner cartridges, motor oil, fluorescent light bulbs and kitchen grease, in addition to cardboard and glass. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa fulfills its environmental responsibility by ensuring bathroom toiletries and linens are packaged in biodegradable containers. Partially used toiletry containers are donated to a local charity.

Go to Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

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