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Quick wins to save money #1: How your hotel can find new ways to reduce waste

  Posted in Hotel Management  Last updated 1/12/2023

Research shows that food waste is shaping up to be a strong concern of guests with consumers claiming that it bothers them almost as much as food prices.

And for hoteliers that generate waste, it can be an expensive and complex business when it comes to disposing of things like trash and leftover food.

One in every six meals in the UK is wasted and on average a restaurant wastes 22 tonnes of food per year.

Disposing of waste is also a costly job with hotels having to pay a waste tax which in the UK is currently set at £82.60 per tonne. That’s a staggering £2,000 per year spent on simply sending waste to landfill.

Thankfully help is available in the form of a new guide from The British Hospitality Association (BHA), and waste experts SWR and Winnow, which has advice for hotels looking to reduce waste and save extra money.

The ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ report suggests that hoteliers should first develop a plan based around the actions ‘research, act, and reduce’.

Start by researching your waste management costs and contracts and speak to your current waste management company. It’s a great place to begin and they can advise you on how to improve your existing procedures in order to reduce costs. You should also learn how to measure and monitor waste and then set goals to reduce it down. The guide reminds hoteliers to remember that almost anything can be recycled and to lead with this as part of your waste management strategy.

Here are 10 innovative ways your hotel can save waste – and money!

  1. Speak to your suppliers about unnecessary packaging
  2. Factor waste into menu planning
  3. Consider donating food surplus
  4. Use a food waste smart meter
  5. Have a compostable bin in an easily accessible place
  6. Promote doggie bags (leftovers to take away) to guests
  7. Use refillable glass bottles rather than plastic
  8. Offer various portion sizes such as entree and main
  9. Ensure proper storage techniques
  10. Reduce collection fee by managing large amounts of separated waste

The guide from the BHA, SWR, and Winnow features two practical case studies – one from London restaurant Sam’s Brasserie & Bar, and the other from hotel group Macdonald Hotels.

Sam’s Brasserie & Bar already has a solid reputation for sustainability and a near best-in-class kitchen efficiency, with only 110g of waste per cover, a fraction of the waste generated at other restaurants.

Looking to boost its credentials further, the restaurant began using a food waste smart meter from Winnow, and over four weeks reduced its waste by 30% – a saving of £5,000 in food costs. The business also prevented sending 1.3 tonnes of waste to landfill by following the advice laid out in the top 10 above.

Macdonald Hotels, another actively sustainable business in the UK, sought a new waste management supplier as the hotel group had no way of benchmarking or measuring the recycling performance of their hotels – something that is central to its strategy. But looking for a new supplier created a second set of issues in that all its hotels are unique with differing local issues such as rural locations.

Disruption caused by changing suppliers was a real concern for the group. But SWR mapped a picture of opportunities for the hotels and the outcome was a plan to deal with multiple waste streams across multiple sites – giving Macdonald Hotels confidence in a new end-to-end waste management service.



By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.


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