If you've never considered what happens to the remnants of the fully loaded plate of enchiladas, chips and salsa you grab from the buffet at an all-inclusive Mexico resort, you might be in for a shock.
Mexico's Velas Vallarta produces a veritable ton of food waste each day, but rather than dumping it into the trash, the Puerto Vallarta resort delivers roughly 700 pounds of it, each morning, to a hog farmer down the road to use as feed.
Much of what doesn't go to the pigs is composted on site and then used to fertilize the resort's verdant gardens. Ultimately, the combo of food waste, leaves, and grass trimmings are returned to the soil, while diverting waste from Mexico's overloaded landfills. Compost is also shared with staff, for use at their homes.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly a quarter of food purchases in hotels and restaurants are simply thrown away. While food waste is a hot topic in the U.S., it's a particular challenge in low-income nations where food is sometimes a scarce resource to begin with. Some resorts are doing their part to address it — even when governmental regulations and a general lack of awareness make that difficult.