This Hotel is Using Images of Starving Children to Shame Guests Who Waste Food

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A Swiss hotel is using posters of starving children to shame patrons into not wasting food
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The Monopol in Lucerne, Switzerland is shaming patrons in order to decrease food waste.

A Swiss hotel stirred up controversy this week by using some very unconventional methods to shame visitors into not wasting food at their buffet.

The four-star hotel Monopol in Lucerne, Switzerland, displayed posters of starving African children with the message “For ethical and moral reason, in Switzerland we do not throw away any food. Please put on your plate only what you do eat,” in both English and Chinese. 

The posters include a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a starving African child being watched by a vulture and children so malnourished that their ribs are clearly visible.

Hotel director Brigitte Heller explained to a Swiss newspaper that guests would heap mountains of food onto their plates at the buffet and leave half of it behind. 

"With my initiative, I want to inform and ask for help with the limitation of food wastage from guests,” Heller told local media. “It's not about criticism and education of guests. They decide… themselves [whether or not to waste food]. " 

The signs are apparently working, as food waste has declined since they were posted, Heller told Shanghaiist. 

Limiting food waste in Switzerland isn’t anything new. One restaurant there currently charges patrons who don’t finish their food, and activist groups have launched petitions demanding legal conditions to limit wasting.    

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