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Greening of Hospitality Industry
The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina Hosts Starwood's First Zero Waste Conference And Sets New Industry Standard For Commitment To Sustainability

A Longtime Leader in Green Practices, Sheraton Debuted Its New Food Waste Recycling Program and Zero Waste Progress During Starwood’s Rooms and Engineering Leadership Conference

The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina (Sheraton San Diego) set a groundbreaking benchmark this past August hosting Starwood’s first ever Rooms and Engineering Leadership Conference in a zero waste forum. As the corporation’s most environmentally conscious conference to date, the Sheraton San Diego was able to introduce a new set of industry standards for green meetings to hundreds of Starwood employees and influencers, and execute at a 92% diversion rate (100% being the aspirational goal of zero waste).

“Hosting the conference was groundbreaking for two reasons,” said Scott Hermes, general manager of the Sheraton San Diego. “It was the first time Starwood held a conference of this size that focused so critically on green initiatives, and it was the first conference in our corporate history to be hosted in a zero waste forum. We’re honored that we were able to set this milestone as a part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and thankful for the opportunity to elevate our reputation as a leader in the industry.”

The Sheraton San Diego is the largest green hotel in Southern California and has long been recognized for its commitment to eco-friendly practices and sustainability. In 2009, the hotel received the Two Palm Leadership Level in California’s Green Lodging Program, the highest level attainable. The hotel then went on to achieve certification at the Gold Level by Green Seal in 2010. “Our owner, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., shares our commitment to sustainability. Over the years, Host has contributed significant funding to major Retro-Commissioning work and other sustainable technologies and operational practices to enhance our green efforts.” Hermes added.

For 2011, the Sheraton San Diego decided to take its commitment one-step further with a new company movement towards the goal of operating as a zero waste facility. The first step was to adopt a comprehensive food waste recycling program that put the Sheraton San Diego at the forefront of Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ green properties and allows them to set the stage for green meetings of the future and also fills a niche for customers and groups that are seeking out hotels focused on sustainability.

The Rooms and Engineering Leadership Conference was held August 14 – 19, 2011 and over 500 Starwood employees, facilitators and vendors from North America were in attendance. As the host property, the Sheraton San Diego delivered upon brand new zero waste guidelines and policies to ensure that Starwood’s first conference of this kind was a success. The focus was to educate and update attendees about what’s new in sustainability and eco-practices, and all the while, the Sheraton San Diego was able to highlight its on-property successes in terms of operating a green hotel, green meetings and green food and beverage offerings.

“During this conference, the Sheraton San Diego set the bar for all Starwood properties moving forward, and for the future of green meetings as a whole,” said Jennifer Bauchner, director of Rooms Operations & Sustainability for Starwood, North America. “In order to be successful, the hotel’s entire staff of nearly 500 associates had to be on board with this movement, and they pulled it off and set the benchmark higher than we ever dreamed. We’re seeing that the impact on the conference attendees is now disseminating throughout North America, and the trickle of this eco-consciousness will be felt for years to come.”

The Sheraton San Diego’s most recent accomplishment in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint was the adoption of a new food waste recycling program in partnership with Waste Management of San Diego. The program diverts almost 100 percent of the hotels food and waste and captures the majority of recyclable products from the Sheraton San Diego’s waste stream, which ultimately should result in displacing more than 300 tons of food from landfills in just one year.

“Our food scraps are now diverted to the City of San Diego’s Greenery, where they are able to turn leftovers into compost and are no longer polluting as trash,” says John Ford, Sheraton San Diego hotel manager. “The implementation of the program was just one of the many steps we are taking towards a long-term goal of operating as a zero waste facility, and the results have been phenomenal. In just two months, we’ve reached 80% waste diversion, up from 15% earlier this year, with a goal to be at 90% by the end of this calendar year.”

In addition to the new food recycling program and the ability to successfully pull-off zero waste meetings, the Sheraton San Diego also uses Fuel Cell Power Technology to provide the hotel its energy, energy efficient lighting system, water conserving fixtures, climate control systems and more. The Sheraton San Diego is at the forefront of sustainability and is a great example of the eco-friendly experience that can be found at many Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

An informational video highlighting all of the Sheraton San Diego’s sustainability efforts can be viewed here:

About the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina

The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina offers 1,053 guest rooms and suites, 120,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, and features five restaurants and lounges, three outdoor swimming pools, and the Link@Sheraton. It is located at 1380 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. For more information, call (619) 291-2900 or visit
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