The Rittenhouse: A Zero Waste Partner
The Rittenhouse, owned by Hersha Hotels & Resorts, demonstrates that sustainability is not only compatible with luxury, but elevates the luxury experience for their guests. The hotel has implemented a number of sustainability initiatives for which they have received accolades, including being part of the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program. They also participate in Hersha Hotels & Resorts’ proprietary EarthView program, a leader in sustainable hospitality.
The Rittenhouse is the first hotel partner of Philadelphia’s Zero Waste Partnership Program. The City’s Office of Sustainability administers this voluntary program and encourages businesses and organizations to commit to helping Philadelphia be a leader in sustainable waste management and achieve its zero waste goals. This was a natural fit for The Rittenhouse: “Food waste affects everyone, and as a food establishment we have the opportunity to be the change we want to see in the community,” explains Abbe Stern, the hotel’s Operations and Event Manager and EcoLeader.
The process to become a Zero Waste Partner (ZWP) starts with eligible businesses first having their annual Commercial Building Waste Report on record with the City. Once submitted, businesses may apply for the ZWP Program, as long as they have a recycling contract in place and comply with Philadelphia’s waste and recycling ordinances. Ten additional Zero Waste Actions qualify businesses for higher tiers of certification. The Rittenhouse is already implementing several qualifying Actions across all of their waste streams; related to food waste, they are donating excess food and implementing a composting program.
Waste prevention and diversion from the landfill is a large focus for The Rittenhouse. When it comes to managing food waste, during regular operations, the hotel donates excess bread every weekday through one of two local food rescue organizations, Food Connect and Sharing Excess. Once a day, the hotel team collects any excess bread and notifies a partner rescue organization via mobile app or text message that it is ready for pick up. Following catered events, The Rittenhouse also donates surplus food, ensuring proper food storage and handling protocols are met.
From practicing root-to-stock cooking, to ensuring that all kitchen staff have proficient knife skills, to tailoring menu items to utilize perishable ingredients that are on hand, this prevention is also seen in the hotel’s food prep culture. Additionally, non-edible food scraps – plate waste, kitchen scraps, and spoiled food – generated by The Rittenhouse’s restaurants and catered events are collected and hauled for composting. Altogether, The Rittenhouse typically diverts over 20 tons of organics from the landfill every year.
The Rittenhouse demonstrates that sustainability is not only compatible with luxury, but elevates the luxury experience for their guests.