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Sustainable Solutions for Hotels and Restaurants: Cutting Waste for Good

October 5, 2023

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How can the hospitality industry cut waste for good? Coastal Recycling gives you some top tips on optimising your business operations.

As the staycation season draws to a close, hotels and restaurants across the country are shifting their focus from hosting guests to optimising their operations. In this post, we’ll explore how the hospitality industry can make lasting changes to reduce waste, save costs, and contribute to environmental health. 

Quick Wins

Every sustainability journey begins small and there are a number of quick wins that hotels and restaurants can implement immediately with minimal cost.

Reusable Tableware: Switching from single-use to reusable tableware ensures less plastic goes to landfill. Many establishments also encourage customers to bring their reusable cups for takeaway beverages, often providing incentives such as discounts or free merchandise. 

Making a switch to fabric napkins may also be beneficial, as they are reusable, durable and more long-lasting than single-use napkins. If running a cafe, ensure that takeaway coffee cups, lids, stirrers and sachets are all either recyclable or biodegradable, as this will also help to minimise your carbon footprint. 

Energy Efficiency: Invest in energy-efficient appliances, such as LED lighting and smart thermostats to reduce your overall energy consumption. Not only is this beneficial for the environment, but it’s also kinder to your bank account and saves you money. 

Water Conservation: Implement water-saving technologies like low-flow taps and toilets. This reduces your water usage and also helps to save money. Ensure your staff are trained to spot leaks and prompt with reporting them so they can be fixed quickly.

Recycling: Whether it’s empty bottles, glasses, cardboard boxes, paper coasters or discarded paperwork, ensure materials are appropriately recycled wherever possible to reduce landfill waste and your carbon footprint.

Turning Scraps into Savings

Food waste is a significant concern for the hospitality industry, with around 920,000 tonnes produced every year. This shocking number equates to roughly 1.3 billion meals and it seems that the hospitality sector is lagging behind in taking action to minimise their own organic waste. Here are some easy ways to start reducing food waste:

Menu Planning: Create menus that minimise food waste by using seasonal ingredients and plan dishes that utilise common ingredients. Certain foods and meals kept for longer periods of time, can be frozen for future use or made into something entirely different.

Portion Control: Train kitchen staff to control portion sizes accurately. Businesses can also offer flexible portion options for guests or encourage people to take home any significant leftovers to eat another time rather than allowing them to go to waste. 

Composting: Set up an on-site composting system for organic waste. Compost can be reused or donated to local farms to grow new crops. 

Avoid Over-ordering: Kitchens often believe that being overly prepared is safer than being underprepared. However, when orders are planned manually, it can result in a significant gap between what’s actually required, which ultimately leads to spoilage. Ensure your stock is managed well and rotated accordingly.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Although commercial waste is a huge problem, household waste also contributes highly to the current food waste crisis. There has been a drive in recent years to fight this climate epidemic and one of the newest incentives is apps. Here are some of the new ways that businesses and individuals can reduce their carbon footprint. 

Too Good to Go – This app, which now spans over 14 countries, connects customers with restaurants, cafes and bakeries that have food that’s due to be thrown out. Consumers can buy the mystery goods at a heavily discounted price. 

Olio –  Olio is a subscription service that benefits businesses and individuals. Similar to Too Good to Go, consumers can not only claim food but other household items from neighbours, benefiting those in the community who may be in need. 

NoWaste – NoWaste helps to manage purchased food items in a more efficient manner. Simply scan receipts and product bar codes to set reminders about when food is going to expire so it can be used in good time. Consumers can also utilise the in-app meal planner which will factor in all your listed ingredients, helping to ensure less waste from forgotten foods. 

Efficient Resource Management

One of the ways in which hospitality can reduce their food waste and maximise their cost savings is through effective and efficient waste management. 

Waste Audits: Conduct waste audits to identify opportunities for improvement and cost reduction. This enables businesses to achieve maximum recycling levels and hit corporate recycling targets. It also allows businesses to track which dishes, drinks and menu items aren’t selling, making room for new alternatives or allowing for a shift in orders to help reduce unnecessary waste.

Staff Training: Train staff to sort waste correctly, such as separating glass from plastic and food from metals. This reduces contamination, which can lead to increased recycling costs. Also ensure that chefs and bartenders don’t over-prepare or use ingredients unnecessarily, as this can result in unused food and drinks going to waste. 

Vendor Collaboration: Collaborate with suppliers to minimise packaging waste. This can include switching to cardboard carriers rather than plastic bags or returning excess packaging so it can be used again.

Keep an eye on sales: Monitor your sales and see what’s popular and what isn’t selling. This will allow you to eliminate unpopular dishes or rid of any wasteful ingredients that may be spoiling.

Commercial Waste Management: Working with a commercial waste management company can help you optimise your waste disposal process by providing the appropriate equipment, such as wheelie bins and recycling bags. Here, at Coastal Recycling, we offer flexible tariffs that allow you to pay by weight, a fixed price or a bespoke quote.

Repurpose Your Ingredients: When you have stock that’s nearing its expiry date, get creative and repurpose these ingredients into a daily special or a featured soup. Recent changes in calorie labelling regulations specify that food items appearing on the menu for fewer than 30 consecutive days throughout the year are exempt from these rules, enabling you to be more flexible and responsive in your efforts to reduce food waste.

Get a free waste and recycling review from Coastal Recycling

With a strong commitment to sustainability, Coastal Recycling aims to maximise recycling rates within your business, help you manage your waste responsibly and reduce your waste costs. If you’re a commercial business, we can provide you with a free food waste review. Get in touch with us today.

Coastal Recycling gives you some top tips on optimising your business operations.