The first step to reduce waste at your hospitality business

Jun 18, 2019

So this week, instead of writing my Thought of the Week I wanted to start giving you some handy tips that any Hospitality business can take to start reducing their Waste production, and what happens when you produce less waste?? You save MONEY off your waste bill!

Waste is one of the biggest challenges of our times. Waste production continues to increase, Ireland is facing a potential waste mountain with no place to go, for some facts and stats continue reading to the end of this blog.

The first step to reducing Waste at your hospitality business – CHECK YOUR BINS!!!

I know this is a job nobody likes, I did it myself and I did not like it!! But one thing is for sure, I learned from it, and I reduced our Waste by 30% in one year by applying very simple actions, and the very first one is WATCHING YOUR BINS!

Checking your bins allows you to understand what waste is produced at your business, so you can take action to reduce some of it or abolish some items completely.

Check your bins at different times of the day and different days of the week for one week, so you can get a clear picture of what is in the bin and specific times of the day. To go a step further use a little notebook and right down the items you see that are disposed off the most. At the end of the week you can revise your results and identify the top two items that were disposed off the most.

Involve your team

For those running large Hospitality Businesses it would be essential to also involve your team, specially your heads of department. Ask them to watch their departmental bins for a week before they are sent to the Waste Disposal area. Ask them also to note the top two most disposed items in their departments (Housekeeping, kitchen, leisure centre...)

Gather all departments information at the end of the week, with your own data and make a decision based on your results.

What are your top two most disposed items? Are those items absolutely necessary to run your business? Either to make money to to enhance your customer experience? If the answer is no the solution is easy ABOLISH THEM FROM YOUR BUSINESS STRAIGHT AWAY.

Remember that when you are putting an item in the bin, you paid for it to get it to your business, and now you are also paying for it to get it taken away.

What if the item enhances your visitor experience?

Change is not easy, I get that, and if you feel one of the top most disposed items enhances your visitor experience the decision to abolish it can be hard. But think about this, how much does it enhance your visitor experience? And is it worth it when you calculate how much is it costing you to purchase the item and then get it taken away by your Waste Company in a weekly basis? Can you offer an alternative perhaps? Here is a little story from a hotel I worked in a few years ago.

“After watching our Landfill bin for a week, we clearly established that our top disposed item were slippers from the hotel bedrooms. They were offered complimentary in all of our guest rooms and this had been hotel policy for years. But after doing the maths, we decided to take a different approach. We took away the slippers from all bedrooms, but we added a note from our General Manager to say the reason we had taken them away is because we were trying to apply Green Practices and our first task was to reduce our landfill waste, however, if any guest wanted slippers, they could call reception and they would be brought up to their room. A month later, 2 customers had requested slippers to be sent to their room, and 12 other guests had commented how good our Green initiative was.” Result!!

So if you are concern that your customers will not like the changes you need to implement, give them the choice, allow them to make the decision weather they want to create extra waste or not, and revise your results after a period of time. I guarantee you, that whatever the results, you will reduce your waste bill, your impact to the environment, and you will create good will amongst those of your customers that care for the environment.

If you care to learn more tips, resources and actions your Hospitality Business can take check out my Online Training Courses here


WASTE FACTS– Out of sight out of mind

In 2016, up to 95% of Irish plastic waste was carried to China, in container ships, that had plenty of space for our rubbish after carrying consumer goods to Europe. But now, China has closed the doors to European Waste, and the problem has got real! In fairness, I always felt that sending waste to China was not a sustainable solution, how were they dealing with the waste? Were we aware if the waste was berried, incinerated or treated in some other manner?

The term “Out of sight out of mind” comes to my head, and sending our waste away to a different country does not solve the problem, it only kicks it down the road, and soon, it will come back to bite us in the arse!

The second problem we have in Ireland’s Waste is segregation, according to reports 30% of the waste found in our recycling bins is not recyclable, further more, landfill or food waste will contaminate our recycling bin and the entire disposal will become landfill. 

Waste facts according to @KimBielenberg from

1 million

tonnes of packaging waste is generated in Ireland every year


value of wasted food per person

1 million

tonnes of food is wasted


of plastic thrown out per person

282,000 tonnes

of plastic packaging produced per year

160,000 tonnes

of plastic incinerated as alternative fuel


of plastic waste is recycled


EU plastic recycling target (2030)


of glass is recycled


of green bin waste is in the wrong bin

40,000 tonnes

of waste tyres every year


of Irish recyclable plastic went to China in 2016

8 million tonnes

of plastic dumped in the sea around the world per year


Until Next Week! Sign up to my weekly thought of the week HERE



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