According to the Global Footprint Network, global demand for resources, such as food and energy, is 1.5 times what the Earth can regenerate and reabsorb annually. Our natural resources are too valuable to go straight from extraction to usage to landfill. For this reason, Hersha has taken an approach to embed circular economy principles into our daily operations. All of Hersha’s hotels have a comprehensive recycling program and we have started organic waste composting at many of our properties.
We also evaluate opportunities where we can do more with less. For example, we have eliminated phonebooks, Styrofoam, and other unnecessary waste from our hotels. These items are easily replaced with technology or recyclable products that are better for the environment. We continue to work with our suppliers to identify products with more sustainable materials and production.
These collective initiatives have taught us that our waste reduction efforts rely on cooperation with local municipalities. For this reason, we encourage our municipalities to accommodate as many forms of recycled material as possible. We also know that human behavior plays a large role in making long-term meaningful progress. That is why we aim to engage our property teams, vendors, and guests in our efforts.
Beyond our operational initiatives, renovations to our hotels create a significant amount of waste. We work with contractors to recycle as much construction debris as possible and partner with non-profit organizations to donate lightly used furniture and equipment whenever our hotels undergo a renovation. This past year, The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia renovated its Luxury Park Suites. We partnered with Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia to donate furniture, lighting, and appliances to hard-working, low-income families in the region.