"Over 80% of ‘waste’ generated in hotels is potentially recyclable, reusable or compostable"
Being Waste Wise can enable hotels to reduce costs through:
- Increased awareness of how waste is being generated, handled and disposed
- Making conscious purchasing decisions to avoid creating waste in the first place
- Reducing the amount of waste that would normally sent to landfill by avoiding, reducing, reusing and recycling
- Making more effective use of materials and contractors
All of a hotel’s day-to-day operations generate waste of various kinds. The following tips will help you to identify the areas where you can avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste – and save your hotel money. More importantly, start monitorising and build a data base where weaknesses, opportunities and benefits are acknolodges for a later action plan.
- Plan for additional pickups of waste and recycling during busy periods, and ensure that collection costs are factored in to annual budgets.
- If space permits, have at least 20% additional bin capacity on the premises to cope with any missed pickups – which occasionally happen, no matter how reliable your contractors are. This will minimise the likelihood of recyclables going to landfill due to lack of recycling bin capacity on site.
- Construction and refurbishment projects within hotels can be significant sources of waste; ensure that contractors performing this work manage the resulting waste responsibly, preferably by arranging for its reuse or recycling, and that construction and demolition waste is kept separate from the hotel’s normal recycling and general waste.
- When undertaking refurbishments, evaluate the effectiveness of current waste and recycling storage areas in terms of space and accessibility.
PURCHASING, DELIVERY & STORAGE
- Purchase cleaning products in concentrated forms, or look at reusable microfibre products.
- Purchase products containing recycled content.
- Purchase carpet that is recyclable and floor coverings that have been made from recycled materials.
- Give preference to purchasing products with minimal packaging.
- Purchase fresh food in reuseable crates and containers that can be recycled like cardboard or paper instead of plastics.
- Engage key suppliers about their commitment to working with you to reduce waste by taking back their plastic containers, crates, polystyrene boxes, for reuse.
- If your recycling company will not collect plastic drums and large detergent and chemical containers, either reuse them or return them to your suppliers, most of which will collect, wash and refill them.
- Ensure that perishable products are placed in storage as soon as possible after delivery. Spoilage not only wastes money in terms of unused products, but also in waste disposal costs.
- Reuse or recycle empty cardboard boxes.
- Assign one person to call the trash collector for special pickups.
- Share newspaper and magazine subscriptions among several people. Purchase newspapers based on occupancy. Provide newspapers on request only.
- Let event attendees know of the hotel’s commitment to being Waste Wise and to assist by keeping recyclables like paper, cardboard separate from other materials.
- Collect leftover food for recycling.
- Where paper bags and serviettes are used in catering, use recycled and unbleached products (which avoid the use of polluting chlorine in bleaching) to save resources and help build the demand for recycled products.
- Aim to provide a range of recycling bins (well signed) to enable conference guests assist you with waste sorting and recycling.
- Provide meeting attendees with a place to drop off their name badges after an event. Reuse the badge holders.
- Provide water at meetings to guests in pitchers, not plastic bottles.
- Implement recycling collection for newspapers, magazines, telephone books, brochures, empty drink containers, cardboard packaging, and paper shopping bags.
- Investigate refillable containers for bathroom amenities, which can reduce waste significantly by cutting down on the use of single use items.
- Allow the toilet roll to be completely used prior to replacing it. Or, use half-used rolls in staff toilets. Purchase toilet paper rolls that are “coreless.”
- Where single use items are provided, donate these to charities.
- Install hand dryers in public restrooms to minimize paper consumption.
- Eliminate plastic or paper wrapping on drinking glasses in guestrooms.
- Use worn towels and linens as cleaning rags.
- Reuse robes as cleaning towels.
- If individual amenities are used, be sure the plastic is recycled.
- Purchase office paper and supplies containing recycled content.
- Purchase computers from companies that take computers back for recycling.
- Use e-mail for distribution of meeting minutes and nightly reports.
- Limit the number of computers with printer access, so documents are only printed when necessary.
- Print internal documents using printer draft option to reduce ink consumption.
- Use both sides of paper when making copies.
- Implement paper recycling in offices, and if space permits give each desk-based staff member their own small recycling bin.
- Recycle printer cartridges by returning to supplier or Cartridges for Planet Ark.
- Reuse scrap paper by binding it and cutting into note pads for use by staff.
- Reuse copy paper boxes for file storage.
- Reuse manila folders and other office supplies eg paper clips, rubber bands.
- Remove general waste bins from individual desks and replace with individual paper bins – set up commingled recycling bin and general waste bins in kitchen or staff tea rooms.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries where possible.
- Use cloth napkins, placement and tablecloths.
- Implement systems for recycling glass, metal and plastic containers (most recycling companies offer a ‘commingled’ recycling service where these materials can all be combined in the same bin for convenience of disposal).
- Implement a system for recycling cardboard.
- Crush cans and bottles.
- Reuse large plastic drums, or send them back to suppliers for reuse.
- Set up a system for recycling corks.
- Eliminate fried foods where possible to minimize the amount of grease that needs to be sent to a landfill. What grease your food and beverage operation does produce can be converted to biodiesel fuel.
- Investigate if your local council collects oil drums or vegetable oils.
- Avoid the use of Styrofoam or paper cups. Use ceramic mugs instead.
- Use reusable plates, glasses and tableware in the restaurant and the employee cafeteria.
- Laminate restaurant menus so that they will last longer.
- Use reusable containers for storing food instead of plastic wrap.
- Use reusable coasters instead of napkins in the restaurant and bar.
- Spa/Fitness centre – paper cups, office paper, newspapers, magazines
- Business centre – office paper, newspapers, magazines (set up recycling systems)
- Lobby area – newspapers, magazines, old flowers (papers on request)
- Car park – newspapers, drink containers (recycle bins)
- Garden – cuttings, grass clippings (composting/greenwaste collection). Compost food scraps and coffee grounds. Start a worm farm to consume the waste.
- You could also setup recycling systems for those areas or avoid purchasings (Plastic cups)
- All areas - buy recycled paper goods with a high percentage of post-consumer content for use in guestrooms, kitchen, housekeeping and other areas of the hotel. If possible, purchase goods that are easily biodegradable.
- All areas - use reusable LED candles to reduce candle waste.
- Install washable furnace and air-conditioner filters.
CONSTRUCTION & REFURBISHMENT
- When refurbishing, talk to architects about building in improved waste management and energy efficiency measures.
- Ensure construction, demolition and refurbishment contractors have systems in place for ensuring waste materials (wood, metal, concrete) are reused wherever possible, and/or recycled off site.
- Refinish furniture.
- Furniture, fittings and used linen can all be reused either by donating them to staff or to charities that will send them on to homeless or underprivileged people.
- When possible, reuse material from demolished buildings in new construction--bricks and mortar, for example, can be recycled.
- Encourage guests to take used soap bars home. Tons of used soap bars are discarded by hotels around the world every day.
- Donate used items such as sheets and furniture to the local community. Also Investigate donating excess food to a charity organisation. There are several which collect food of good quality that has not been served to the public.
- Educate staff and reward them for recycling accomplishments. Educate guests as well.
- Encourage your suppliers to use less waste. Buy only from those that do so.
- Encourage vendors to offer products with minimal packaging.
- Monitor waste volume each month to track progress.
- Monitor trash in dumpsters to make sure recyclables are not being sent to the landfill.
- Participate in WasteWise programs held in your area.
Source: Adapted from Green Lodging
The City of Melbourne Waste Management ToolKit