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The Winter Waste and Recycling Checklist for Hotel Owners and Operators

Waste Harmonics

As a hotel owner/operator, you know that winter can be an especially busy time. New or increased bookings are coming in as locals and tourists plan to visit loved ones or see new sights this holiday season. It’s important to remember that as the snow begins to fall, your higher occupancy rates may bring about more waste.

While waste and recycling are often viewed as the cost of doing business, don’t overlook these services this holiday season. Here’s a helpful checklist to measure your current programs against and further evaluate ways you can enhance or modify your waste and recycling services this winter.

Take Inventory

Don’t start from scratch, but rather, take stock of where you are today to understand how much waste and recycling you’re generating before the holiday rush. Understanding your current waste streams across each hotel outlet or chain will help you to develop a cohesive plan across your operations and may indicate whether it’s best to scale up or down on your program’s equipment, pickup schedule and more over the next few months as guests come and go.

Monitor Key Metrics with a Tracking System

Once you understand your baseline, true value will be derived from continuous monitoring of your output. Look for a partner in the industry who can implement customized waste and recycling monitoring at each of your hotel locations, reporting to a remote or cloud-based system that allows you to easily review and understand data across your full operation. Technology like easy-to-install smart compactors and bin monitors will track and capture real-time data on fill levels and other metrics vital to improving efficiency.

Having visibility to this cohesive data will help you better understand current waste spend and overall program performance, and also presents an opportunity to adjust your program as needed. These insights can be leveraged for planning purposes year to year as you look to shore up your program’s capacity to handle potential increased output in waste and recycling from one holiday season to the next.

Keep Your Goals Front and Center

Now that you’ve established a baseline and have improved visibility to your waste streams and services through monitoring capabilities, set specific diversion goals (e.g., implement an organics recycling program for kitchen services, achieve zero-waste diversion in the next five years, earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for your hotel, etc.). Goals will vary based on the size of your operation, but make sure all key performance indicators are measurable and attainable when it comes to waste removal and recycling.

Spell It Out for Your Guests and Team

Continuous education and training regarding your operation’s waste and recycling practices or policies will be key to the success of your hotels’ waste and recycling program during busy times. State and local-level mandates regarding recycling and waste disposal vary throughout the U.S., so depending on the reach of your operational footprint, you’ll want to ensure that that your teams are compliant with all local regulations and guidelines.

Consider eye-catching and informative signage in guest rooms or high-traffic areas to reinforce waste and recycling protocols and improve the odds that waste is disposed of or recycled properly by your customers. Also, ensure that all team members are well versed and aware of each location’s recycling programs. Team members taking an individual role in reinforcing recycling and sustainability efforts will help further awareness of these practices among guests and help minimize your operation’s overall environmental impact.

Partner with a Professional

And last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a dedicated managed waste service partner to help you tackle your unique waste and recycling checklist this winter and well into the future.

If you’re a hotel owner/operator and would like to better understand your waste and recycling needs, consider reaching out to our team.