5 Common Waste Management Myths Debunked: Hotel Industry

Today, many hotel owners and operators are managing multiple hotel operations across the United States and internationally. With managing hotel chains, big and small, comes a large responsibility to keep each property running efficiently and in top-notch fashion. One of the largest, and most overlooked tasks with managing a hotel chain can be figuring out how to handle all your waste and recycling management needs for each individual property, while keeping your larger business goals top of mind.

Waste and recycling management is a task that is normally overlooked in the hotel industry, can be costly and has a wide variety of misconceptions within the hotel industry. To set the record straight and help hotel executives better understand the waste industry and how it can best serve their unique needs, here are five of the common waste and recycling management myths and misconceptions in the hotel industry taking up hotel executives precious time, and the real truths that lie behind them.

1. Trash Pickup is a Utility

A utility suggests you don’t have any options when figuring out to handle your waste and recycling management needs across each hotel property and for your hotel chain overall. In reality, who you work with to manage your waste can make all of the difference. Consider working with a managed waste services provider to help create and setup a customized waste and recycling plan with competitive pricing to benefit your business.

For instance, many managed waste services providers use cloud-based systems to aid in vendor bidding. So, the very first step in debunking the myth that trash pickup is a utility is to take advantage of technology and use it when finding a partner to revolutionize your process.

There are thousands of vendors available for your specific needs-how do you sort through thousands of vendors available for your specific needs? Managed waste services providers will work with their network to provide competitive costs using a cloud-vendor bidding system. This system allows you to post a U.S. or Canadian-based RFP to thousands of vendors. Using a cloud platform ensures your property has access to competitive rates across North America, and great brokers will provide an easily accessible customer portal that allows you to manage and monitor the bidding process.

Through their web-based network, waste services providers can recruit waste hauling business options, eliminate additional fees and surcharges, keep track of service levels and costs-as well as market analysis and seasonal fluctuations-and manage the right sizing and cost savings of your program through hidden opportunities and the reduction of inefficiencies.

In addition, managed waste services providers can use their cloud-based network to connect you to recycling partnerships, which results in the optimization of your waste management. Partners provide customers with more options and better programs, such as zero waste (e.g., waste to energy, generating energy or fuel from waste) programs, as well as small- and large-stream recycling programs for those with specialized needs. These programs will save you money while reducing your environmental footprint and prioritizing sustainability.

2. One Invoice for all Your Waste Management Needs is Impossible

Most hotel executives today are managing hotel operations in multiple countries, cities and states all under a larger umbrella brand. Each of those hotel properties will have specific waste and recycling regulations to follow in line with what country, state or city their hotels are located in. Managing waste management for a hotel in San Francisco, Cali. will look very differently from managing that of a hotel in Dallas, Texas. While these varying locations may cause the need for multiple vendors, contracts and therefore invoices for different areas of your hotel operations, waste and recycling management doesn’t need to be one of those areas.

One of the most common myths of hotel waste and recycling management is that multiple locations will mean the need for many different vendors, contracts and invoices to pay. However, the truth is that it is possible to consolidate your hotel waste and recycling vendors and contracts for every location, and every type of waste into one sole point of contact and invoice.

Many managed waste services providers can offer the expertise and insight to help you consolidate all waste and recycling needs to one single invoice, report and point of contact across each and every single hotel property.

3. Landfills Solve all our Waste Programs

When hotel owners and operators are working to figure out how to handle their waste and recycling management needs across their hotel chains of all sizes, the first thought is usually that a landfill can help solve all their waste problems. However, that popular thought is a myth and many of the current waste management approaches that follow this plan are flawed. The truth is landfills are not the only solution to hotel executives waste management problems as they ignore the cost of waste and ultimately, miss opportunities to preserve resources.

Additionally, hotel executives who are looking to not only promote sustainability across their chain, but employ it in their waste and recycling management program should know that landfills aren’t an ideal solution for several reasons. Most concerning is that they can pollute the ground, water and soil.

While landfills are and will remain to be a highly needed source to dispose of waste, hotel executives can consider looking into alternative means of handling waste and recycling from their hotel properties, including incinerators, recycling plants and more.

Zero landfill is becoming available to more markets than ever before. In combination with donating and customized recycling, partnering with waste-to-energy providers allows you to achieve zero landfill opportunities. Achieving a landfill waste diversion rate of 100%, especially with amenities recycling, used to be an unachievable goal, but is now well within reach.

4. Increases in Waste Removal Prices are Unavoidable

One of the largest myths with hotel waste and recycling management is that increases in waste removal prices are unavoidable. Since handling waste and recycling needs often falls to the bottom of many executive’s to-do lists-and can frankly cause internal issues between procurement and sustainability officers with competing goals to save money and be environmentally friendly-many times hidden fees that are frequently tacked on by many waste companies go unnoticed and expected by hotel executives.

The truth of the matter is that it’s certainly possible for a hotel owner and operator to find a waste partner that delivers transparency with their invoices and contracts. Hotel executives can and should look to find a managed waste services provider who can not only help to simplify and streamline waste and recycling needs across your hotel chain, but continually provides transparency in their billing and work with your team to find cost efficiencies across the board.

5. Sustainability Programs are just for Big Enterprise

Many hotel owners and operators today are managing hotel chains big and small, usually all with unique goals specific to each property. One main goal of hotel executives that may seem not only lofty, but cost effective and difficult, is implementing a sustainability program across their hotel chain.

It’s a common misconception that hotel executives need to have a dedicated sustainability team, hundreds 100s of locations and resources devoted to training, and education to run a waste reduction and successful sustainability program across your hotel chain. Hotel owners and operators may find themselves in between procurement and sustainability officers who are looking to drive costs down and be environmental conscious respectively, all while keeping the larger business goals in mind. With this, hotel chains may think implementing and running a successful sustainability program just isn’t for their operation, unless they are one of the largest hotel chains in the United States.

The truth is that hotel executives of big and small chains can successfully run a sustainability program at each and every one of their hotel properties. By optimizing waste processes, even small hotel operations can adopt recycling programs that are both easy to implement and cost effective.

For hoteliers who decide to implement a sustainability program, they should always monitor their recycling process. When looking to get this monitoring setup, remember that there are business platforms that capture cost reduction, track it and generate reports for recycling productivity. Remember, most waste management companies offer nice upfront savings when beginning a program. You should partner, however, with a provider that offers continuous improvement on an ongoing basis and the reporting to support it.


This article was originally published in Hotel Executive.