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How can hotel waste management be improved to make it more efficient?

Samantha Green

Hotel waste management is an essential topic since managing resources correctly may boost income while also improving brand perception. Effective trash management saves time, money, and resources for your hotel. Furthermore, it is critical that hotels adhere to the legislation regarding this area, working with licensed contractors to ensure compliance.

What is hotel waste management?

Waste management in a hotel is the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of garbage. Some garbage disposal methods include landfilling, incineration, compacting, composting, and vermicomposting. Hotels must reduce and reuse trash as much as possible and recycle what can be recycled. Hotels generate a lot of waste, so they need a solution to get rid of it efficiently while also cutting expenditures, which can be pricey.

It is a crucial component of being environmentally responsible to ensure that hotels dispose of waste without harming the environment, soil, or water. To fulfil their social responsibilities, hotels must collect, transport, and handle trash in a sanitary, efficient, and proper manner. With the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the best practices were abandoned to assure safety and protection from the virus, so when the epidemic ends, hotels must reconsider how they may effectively dispose of garbage while keeping guests safe.

Importance of hotel waste management

These figures indicate that travel-related businesses, including hotels, are in an excellent position to take advantage of emerging technologies that can make their operations not only less harmful to the environment, but also more efficient and convenient for their customers. This is why it is critical for hotels to have a plan in place to effectively manage their waste.

Efficient hotel waste management is not only environmentally responsible but can also lead to cost savings and improved guest satisfaction.

 Here are some ways to make hotel waste management more efficient:

  1. Waste Audits: Conduct regular waste audits to understand what types of waste are being generated and in what quantities.
  2. Source Separation: Implement a comprehensive waste separation program, including recycling, composting, and general waste. Clearly label bins and provide training to staff to ensure proper separation.
  3. Guest Education: Provide information to guests about your waste management practices and encourage them to participate in recycling and responsible waste disposal.
  4. Reducing Single-Use Items: Minimize the use of single-use plastics and other disposable items. This can include switching to refillable toiletry containers, eliminating plastic straws, and encouraging guests to use reusable water bottles.
  5. Food Waste Reduction: Implement strategies to reduce food waste in the kitchen and dining areas. This includes monitoring portion sizes, composting food scraps, and donating excess food to local charities.
  6. Energy-Efficient Appliances: Invest in energy-efficient appliances and lighting to reduce energy consumption, which indirectly reduces waste generated from energy sources.
  7. Reusable Linens and Towels: Encourage guests to reuse towels and linens rather than requesting fresh ones daily. This can reduce laundry and water usage.
  8. Purchase Locally and Sustainably: Buy products and supplies from local and sustainable sources, which can reduce the environmental impact of your supply chain.
  9. Implement a Green Procurement Policy: Develop and follow a procurement policy that prioritizes eco-friendly and recyclable products.
  10. Waste Reduction Training: Train staff on the importance of waste reduction and efficient waste management. Make sure they are aware of the procedures for sorting and handling waste.
  11. Technology and Software: Consider using waste management software to track and analyse your waste data, helping you identify patterns and areas for improvement.
  12. Waste-to-Energy: Explore waste-to-energy technologies, which can convert certain types of waste into energy, reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills.
  13. Collaboration: Partner with local waste management companies and recycling centres to ensure that your waste is being properly handled and recycled.
  14. Monitoring and Reporting: Continuously monitor your waste management efforts and report progress to staff and guests. Highlight achievements and set goals for further improvements.
  15. Compliance with Regulations: Ensure that you are complying with local waste management regulations and codes.
  16. Staff Involvement: Engage your staff in waste reduction efforts and incentivize them to come up with innovative ideas for waste reduction.
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Why is going green important for hotels?

  • Environmental Impact: Hotels can have a significant environmental footprint due to their energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and the use of various resources. Going green helps reduce this impact, contributing to a healthier planet by conserving natural resources and reducing pollution.
  • Cost Savings: Implementing green practices can lead to cost savings in the long run. For example, energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and appliances can lower utility bills. Water conservation measures reduce water costs. Waste reduction and recycling can lead to lower waste disposal expenses.
  • Guest Preferences: Many travellers are becoming more environmentally conscious and seek eco-friendly accommodations. Hotels that prioritize sustainability can attract environmentally minded guests, leading to increased occupancy and customer loyalty.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Environmental regulations are becoming stricter in many regions. By adopting green practices, hotels can ensure compliance with local, state, and federal environmental laws and avoid potential fines or legal issues.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Hotels that are committed to sustainability often enjoy a positive public image and reputation. Guests are more likely to support and recommend environmentally responsible businesses, which can translate into a better brand image and increased business.
  • Competitive Advantage: In a competitive industry, going green can be a differentiating factor. It can help hotels stand out from the competition and attract a segment of travellers who actively seek out eco-friendly accommodations.
  • Long-Term Viability: Sustainable practices can help ensure the long-term viability of a hotel business by conserving resources, reducing operational costs, and mitigating risks associated with resource scarcity and environmental damage.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Embracing sustainability is a way for hotels to demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental responsibility. This aligns with the broader trend of corporate social responsibility and can appeal to socially conscious investors, partners, and customers.
  • Community Engagement: By engaging in green initiatives, hotels can build positive relationships with their local communities. This can involve supporting local environmental and social causes, which can have a positive impact on the hotel’s reputation and relationships with the community.
  • Employee Satisfaction: Many employees prefer working for companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. Green initiatives can boost employee morale and attract talent, ultimately improving the overall work environment.
  • Resilience to Climate Change: As the impacts of climate change become more pronounced, hotels that have implemented sustainable practices are better prepared to adapt and remain operational in the face of environmental challenges.
  • Innovation and Efficiency: Pursuing green initiatives often leads to innovation and greater operational efficiency. Sustainable practices can encourage the adoption of new technologies and approaches that can improve a hotel’s overall performance.
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Here are 12 hotel ideas to go green:

  1. Energy-Efficient Lighting: Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting to reduce energy consumption and lower electricity costs.
  2. Solar Panels: Install solar panels on rooftops to generate clean and renewable energy. Solar power can be used to heat water, provide electricity, and reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint.
  3. Energy Management Systems: Implement energy management systems that automatically control heating, cooling, and lighting in guest rooms based on occupancy to optimize energy usage.
  4. Green Building Materials: Use eco-friendly building materials in renovations and new construction. This includes low-VOC paints, sustainable wood, and recycled materials.
  5. Water Conservation: Install low-flow showerheads, faucets, and dual-flush toilets to reduce water consumption. Implement rainwater harvesting systems for landscape irrigation.
  6. Linens and Towel Reuse Programs: Encourage guests to reuse towels and linens to reduce water and energy consumption associated with laundry.
  7. Waste Reduction and Recycling: Implement comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs. Provide clearly labelled recycling bins in guest rooms and common areas.
  8. Food Waste Reduction: Minimize food waste in the hotel’s restaurants by tracking portion sizes, using leftovers creatively, and composting food scraps.
  9. Local and Sustainable Sourcing: Source food and supplies locally and sustainably to support the community and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
  10. Green Transportation: Provide electric vehicle charging stations and promote the use of public transportation or bicycles for guests to reduce the carbon footprint of their travel.
  11. Environmental Education: Offer educational programs and materials for guests and staff about the hotel’s green initiatives and how they can participate in sustainable practices.
  12. Carbon Offsetting: Consider implementing a carbon offset program where guests can contribute to offset the carbon emissions associated with their stay, with the hotel supporting carbon reduction projects.

The 6 best hotel waste management practices

The usual culprits, such as disposable coffee cups, plastic straws, individually wrapped amenities, and the endless paper receipts, registration cards, and invoices that reception desks continue to churn out, continue to harm the environment. Hotels generate a lot of waste, in addition to wasting water and electricity, so it’s critical to keep it under control with a strategy and best practices in mind. Let us investigate.


Hotels generate a large amount of packaging, ranging from single-use plastic amenities that are discarded on a regular basis to cleaning and washing supplies and plastic water bottles, all of which end up in a landfill. Many customers have long associated hotels with luxury, indulgence, and the accumulation of more than what is necessary when it comes to toiletries. Small changes in hotel operations can have a significant environmental impact.

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Laundry and housekeeping are significant energy drains, and outdated practices such as cleaning everything all the time may be inappropriate in an age of climate change and social responsibility. Smart technologies can save energy more directly by, for example, only turning on the air conditioner after a room has been checked in. Alternatively, smart algorithms can be used to allocate rooms so that they are grouped on a single floor to save money on underfloor heating bills. All of this is made possible by an open platform and cloud-based PMS that can easily integrate with third-party technologies.

Zero waste

Going away from one’s usual environment has the effect of making people less environmentally conscious. Would you really wash your towels and bed linens every day if you were at home, or would you just throw away a tiny bottle of shampoo after one use? This is why it is a modern hotelier’s responsibility to strive for zero waste, washing linens and towels only when necessary, and replacing individual amenities with refillable bottles.

Composting in the kitchen, recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal, composting hand towels, coffee grounds, and using compostable cups are all essential steps toward becoming zero waste at your facility.

Food waste

Food waste accounts for more than half of all waste in the hospitality industry. Many hotels have devised novel approaches to dealing with food waste. To reduce food waste, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts’ Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge collaborates with Twin Meadows Organics Farm, a sustainable and organic family farm that delivers local produce. Fairmont employees return used vegetable oil to the farm to fuel the delivery truck and on-farm generator, and other hotels have implemented practices such as food waste planting and animal feed production.

Paper waste

The main offenders are paper receipts, registration cards, and invoices, which are ancient practices that are ripe for digitization. Hoteliers can spend more time with their guests and use their true hospitality skills as technology advances, while only the menial and repetitive manual tasks are automated in the background by tech solutions like Mews. This includes reducing unnecessary paper use and going digital whenever possible.

Training staff

Staff training is essential for improving communication and understanding of waste management best practices. Hoteliers have access to a simple, easy way for every staff member to become masters of cutting-edge digital hotel management technology that will eventually help automate energy-saving features with the help of a range of integrations, so you can manage things like turning off electricity when people are not using certain areas of your facilities, while also helping cut down on paper by digitizing processes.


Proper waste management in hotels is a critical component of becoming more sustainable, lowering costs, and living up to a hotel’s moral obligation to respect the environment. As a result, sustainability should be at the heart of your property’s operations. With more people traveling every year, something must be done to stop the unneeded destruction of our planet.

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