Hotels cause a lot of pressure on the environment. Image source: Hotel Management.
The hospitality industry has provoked numerous environmental concerns. These concerns revolve around hotel waste management on food, energy, and packaging. Open Access Government reveals that hotels produce 289,700 tons of waste annually, including 79,000 tons of food waste. Besides, the hotels also have to spend a lot of energy to avoid sudden power cuts to operate smoothly. These are some ways hotels can manage waste to tackle the issues above and move forward to more sustainable operations.
In hotel restaurants, chefs will discard the food that cannot be preserved. However, for those hotels that serve buffets for many guests, food waste will be more significant. Waste & Resources Action Plan (WRAP) showed that the UK hospitality and food service sector generates around 920,000 tons of food waste yearly. Therefore, besides setting goals to reduce environmental harm, hotels develop ways to eliminate food waste.
Managing food waste in hotels. Source: The Altruistic Traveller.
Hotels could turn the food waste into fertilizer to properly handle the discarded food. In big cities with implementations of waste management systems, households could turn their waste to into plant fertilizer. Specifically, innovative machines can help alleviate the issue of excessive waste. For example, Westcom Solutions’ waste-to-fertilizer technology largely depends on micro-bites to break down leftovers in Singapore. By putting the leftover food into the digesters, it will turn into odorless fertilizer.
Food waste digester in Singapore. The Straits Times.
Food manufacturers and caterers will be encouraged to modify their production methods. For example, Grand Hyatt, a hotel near Orchard Road in Singapore, has saved $100,000 a year by managing its waste by using a food-waste digester. Introducing waste management policies on handling discarded food for hotels is also an effective measure for hotels. Even though different cities have different waste management systems and policies to alleviate food waste, hotels in other cities should manage food waste.
Energy consumption in hotels is a startling concern. Hotels have to spend a vast amount of money to pay electricity and water bills to maintain operation. Therefore, there are some ways to tackle this issue, such as measuring and tracking energy performance. By providing lists of facilities with specific energy consumption measurements, hotels can decrease their usage. Regarding the cost-effective method, hotels can install solar panels. Using natural energy can greatly reduce the costs of electricity and energy waste. Installing solar panels might be exorbitant at first, but they will prove as one of the greatest assets in the long run.
Installing solar panels for hotels is a great way to preserve the environment. Hotel Management.
Sometimes, the main source of light is also important. Therefore, the hotels should design their rooms in a way to optimize natural light to penetrate. For example, some hotel restaurants can design transparent glass instead of building walls to optimize natural energy sources. In this way, the guests could also see the exterior landscape while enjoying their meals instead of feeling trapped in the four walls.
Maximizing light in hotel restaurants. Image source: Pexels.
Lastly, the guests are the determining factor in contributing to the hospitality industry. Therefore, educating guests in saving energy could be an effective way. Changes could not happen from one side. Hotels should motivate guests with products to participate in this process. For example, various hotels have designed a green plastic card at the bed counter. If the guests do not want to change their mattress, they can put the card onto the bed. Imagine having to wash 5 bedsheets after 5 different nights; how wasteful could that be!
Have you ever noticed that hotels wrap the necessities for guests with lots of plastics, such as toothbrushes? Or sometimes, they only provide guests with plastic knives and spoons? Plastic materials are undeniably cheap, but there has not been an alternative yet. Consequently, plastic waste has been causing an immense strain on the environment. Therefore, the optimal solution is to find alternative biodegradable paper to wrap these products. Often, replacing plastic single-use items such as cups could also be an efficient way. So which hotels have taken this measure to maintain sustainability?
Some plastic products from hotels. Image source: Accor.
Rotana Hotel, for instance, has replaced straws, containers, and plastic bottles while remaining a positive and eco-conscious experience for guests. Besides, some prominent chain hotels have also adopted a plastic-free approach, such as Hilton (eliminated plastic water bottles from its conference rooms) or Six Senses (paper, bamboo, and lemongrass straws). You can find some other examples of hotels and resorts promoting alternatives to plastic products here. By radically taking steps, hotels can soon reduce the burden of waste discharge annually and protect the environment.