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A recent hotel waste audit showed that each guestroom contributes from one kilogramme to 57kg of waste per day. It comprises of two components, biodegradable (wet) waste and non biodegradable (dry) waste. The majority of waste is not produced in rooms but in the food and beverage department. A large property can generate as much as eight tonnes of waste per day. Up to 60% of this waste is recyclable. In addition, if a hotel’s waste is not reduced or recycled, it contributes to the state’s environmental problems.

Consistent waste reduction and recycling activities imply that there will be less waste materials to be sent to landfills and incinerators. With this, the emission of greenhouse gas and other forms of pollutants would be reduced by a large percentage.

In response to modern trends, hotel industry is adopting changes in their operations to reduce waste disposal costs and protect the environment. A few proactive hotel corporations have approved hotel environmental programmes such as water and energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling.

Stewardship of natural resources and making business decisions based on environmental practices has enabled certain hotels to step into the green consumer market.

Guidelines for the housekeeping department

Stationery waste generated in front and back offices constitute a major part of the hotel waste material. A centrally placed board or electronic bulletin board can be used for giving information to the staff. Also, guest stationery can be reused for in-house correspondence. A hotel can use non-toxic inks, unbleached and chlorine-free paper, refillable pens and pencils.

For the housekeeping executive, it is very important to opt for an eco-purchasing programme, under which an organisation could reduce waste by purchasing cleaning products in bulk, avoiding products with hazardous ingredients, repairing and reusing the possible products and by selecting such vendors who are using reusable or returnable boxes and crates.

A few more pointers:

  • Reuse plastic drums and buckets as trash collection containers in the back of the service areas.
  • Use refillable bath soap, shampoo, hair rinse and hand lotion dispensers
  • Offer newspapers in centrally located places such as lobbies, restaurants and newsstands rather than distributing them to each guest
  • Worn out mattresses can be redone
  • Replace tissues in bathrooms when they are almost empty or leave new rolls or boxes of tissues for the guest to replace. If company policy is to replace half rolls of toilet tissue, save them and donate to shelters or use them in employee restrooms.
  • Provide amenities such as shower caps, shoe wipeson request.
  • Re-dye stained bath towels and wash cloths for reuse as pool towels and cleaning cloths. Re-dye linens and carpet to match remodelled decor
  • Rotate draperies to expose different portions to sunlight and extend their useful life. Use reusable baskets or plastic containers for guest laundry, thus avoiding disposable paper or plastic wrap
  • Use clothes hangers left by guests for employee uniforms or return to the dry cleaners and recycle plastic garment bags.

Guidelines for Food & Beverage

The practices to be followed regularly in the food and beverage department include the use of reusable dishes and flatware in restaurants; installing a magnet in food waste containers to recover silverware accidentally thrown away with food waste; using recycled paper for menus, table tents, guest checks and inventory sheets; using calculator and cash register tapes; using the recycling symbol on printed materials to inform guests of your hotel’s commitment to the environment or opting for washable hats instead of disposable paper.

  • Use filters in deep fryers to extend the life of cooking oil.
  • Distribute condiments, paper napkins and straws only on request
  • Replace individually wrapped condiment packages with bulk dispensers in restaurants and employee cafeterias
  • Prefer glass or plastic coasters to reduce cocktail napkin waste
  • Eliminate paper mats and use cloth ones.
  • Purchase refrigerators, freezers, and coolers which are CFC-free
  • Use dry, concentrated dishwasher chemicals in dispensers to reduce chemical spills and waste
  • Avoid wastage of unused guest food
  • It is also recommended that the hotels should make use of bio-sanitiser machine bio-methanation plant and composting/vermi-compositing plant.
Compiled by Prem Prakash and Rachna Chandan
Lecturers of BCIHMCT, New Delhi

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