Hotel Waste Collection

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Hotel waste management in numbers



of annual UK food waste is created by the hospitality industry

<h3>289,700 tonnes</h3>

289,700 tonnes

Hotels produce an astonishing 289,700 tonnes of waste per year

<h3>2.87 million tonnes</h3>

2.87 million tonnes

The hospitality industry produces 2.87 million tonnes of plastic each year

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Cost efficiency

Cost efficiency

Compare waste providers to find the most cost-effective service for your hotel that meets waste volume and service frequency requirements.



Partner with a waste collection company that aligns with your hotel’s sustainability goals to enhance your hotel’s public image and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

Reliability and customer service

Reliability and customer service

Partner with dependable waste management providers that offer excellent customer service to maintain your hotel’s cleanliness and operational efficiency.

Hotel waste collection and disposal

Navigating the complexities of waste collection and disposal in the hotel industry requires a strategic and comprehensive approach.

We highlight the essential practices for efficient hotel waste management. Discover the key to seamlessly integrating these ideas into your hotel’s daily operations, ensuring environmental compliance, sustainable practices, and strategic waste management.

We cover the following subjects in detail:

Hotel waste streams

Managing the diverse range of waste generated daily is a critical task. From the leftovers in dining areas to the obsolete electronics behind the scenes, each type of waste presents unique challenges and opportunities for sustainable practices.

We delve into the specific waste streams produced in hotels:

<h3>Food waste</h3>

Food waste

Food waste in hotels encompasses leftovers and unused ingredients from cafes, guest rooms, and restaurants. This includes perishable items that expire before use, surplus food inventory purchases, preparation scraps from the kitchen and uneaten food from guests’ plates.

<h3>General waste</h3>

General waste

General waste in hotels encompasses non-recyclable rubbish generated across various functions, including room cleaning, kitchen activities, and disposing of worn-out items like sheets.

<h3>Mixed recyclables</h3>

Mixed recyclables

The hotel recycling stream targets the segregation and collection of recyclable materials such as paper, plastic shampoo bottles, shower caps and other commonly recycled items.



Hazardous waste in hotels primarily involves waste from cleaning processes, including chemicals and materials that pose risks to health and the environment if improperly handled. This category requires special attention to ensure safe disposal and compliance with regulations to prevent contamination and safeguard guests and staff’s well-being.

<h3>Electronic waste</h3>

Electronic waste

The electronic waste stream in hotels includes outdated or broken electronics such as TVs, wiring, and reception and back-office computer equipment. This type of waste requires specialised disposal methods to recycle valuable materials and properly handle toxic components.

<h3>Glass waste</h3>

Glass waste

Glass bottles collected from guest rooms represent a substantial portion of waste that can be fully recycled. By segregating glass bottles and waste, you can benefit from lower disposal costs and avoid paying landfill tax associated with general waste.

Recommended hotel waste solutions

Our experts summarise the three most common waste collection services that will benefit your hotel’s waste management:

<h3>Commercial waste collection</h3>

Commercial waste collection

Commercial waste collection services efficiently dispose of general business waste, ensuring operations remain clean and compliant with environmental regulations. They are designed to meet the specific needs of each business, offering regular pickups and tailored solutions to manage waste effectively.

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<h3>Dry mixed recycling</h3>

Dry mixed recycling

This service streamlines separating and recycling paper, plastics, and tin and aluminium cans from hotels, simplifying the recycling process. It not only aids businesses in reducing their environmental footprint but also ensures materials are repurposed.

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<h3>Glass recycling</h3>

Glass recycling

This service is tailored to manage the high volume of glass waste generated, from guest room beverage containers to dining and event services. It ensures that all glass is collected separately, maximising recycling efficiency.

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Waste minimisation strategies for hotels

The hospitality industry’s commitment to sustainability is centred on the critical endeavour of waste minimisation.

Our experts summarise best practice strategies for hotels that reduce their environmental footprint and enhance operational efficiency.

<h3>Comprehensive recycling program</h3>

Comprehensive recycling program

Launching a comprehensive recycling program involves strategically placing well-marked bins throughout the hotel, including in guest rooms, lobbies, and dining areas, to facilitate the segregated recycling of paper, glass, plastics, and metals.

This initiative streamlines waste management and underscores the hotel’s commitment to environmental stewardship, engaging guests and staff in sustainable practices.



By monitoring food consumption patterns, hotels can significantly reduce overordering and waste, aligning purchase orders more closely with actual needs.

Implementing a composting program for organic waste, alongside donating surplus food to local charities, improves sustainability efforts. This strategy minimises waste and supports community welfare, ensuring that hotels can contribute positively to the environment and society.

<h3>Sustainable procurement policy</h3>

Sustainable procurement policy

Adopting a sustainable procurement policy involves selecting products from recycled materials and choosing suppliers committed to taking back packaging for reuse or recycling.

This approach reduces waste and supports a circular economy, demonstrating the hotel’s dedication to environmental sustainability through mindful purchasing decisions.

<h3>Donation of used items</h3>

Donation of used items

Donating gently used items (in good condition), such as linens, furniture, and electronics, to local charities or organisations is a sustainable practice that prevents useful items from being discarded.

<h3>Recycling bins in rooms</h3>

Recycling bins in rooms

Implementing recycling bins in hotel rooms is a strategic approach to encourage guests to participate in waste separation at the source.

This straightforward yet effective method facilitates recycling and fosters a culture of environmental responsibility among guests. A single bin with two separate compartments, one for recycling and the other for general waste, will contribute massively.

Hotel commercial bins: Types and strategic placement

Efficient waste management is crucial for hotels to maintain cleanliness, comply with regulations, and demonstrate environmental responsibility.

The strategic placement and selection of commercial bins are vital in achieving these goals.

Our experts explore this further;

<h3>General Waste Bins</h3>

General Waste Bins

Placement: Found in guest rooms, lobbies, and back office areas.

Common materials: Non-recyclable packaging, wrappers, used napkins, and any waste that doesn’t fit into recyclable or specialised categories.

Reason: To collect the bulk of waste generated by guests and staff that cannot be easily recycled, minimising litter and maintaining cleanliness.

<h3>Recycling Bins</h3>

Recycling Bins

Placement: Located in guest rooms, conference areas, dining facilities, and staff areas.

Common materials: Paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, and glass bottles.

Reason: To encourage separating recyclable materials from general waste, reduce landfill use, and support the hotel’s sustainability efforts.

<h3>Food Waste Bins</h3>

Food Waste Bins

Placement: Primarily in kitchens and dining areas.

Common materials: Leftover food scraps, expired ingredients, and kitchen prep waste.

Reason: To separate organic waste for composting or bioenergy production, reduce general waste volumes, and contribute to the hotel’s sustainability goals.

<h3>Glass Recycling Bins</h3>

Glass Recycling Bins

Placement: Bars, dining areas, and sometimes in event spaces.

Common materials: Beer and wine bottles and jars.

Reason: Segregating away from DMR reduces cross-contamination to maximise recycling

<h3>E-Waste Bins</h3>

E-Waste Bins

Placement: Typically found in the maintenance areas or outside waste storage for hotels.

Common materials: Used batteries, old electronics like mobile phones, and small appliances.

Reason: To safely dispose of or recycle electronic waste, prevent toxic substances from contaminating landfills, and recover valuable materials.

<h3>Hazardous Waste Containers</h3>

Hazardous Waste Containers

Placement: Back-of-house areas, accessible only to trained staff.

Common materials: Cleaning chemicals, fluorescent bulbs, and any materials classified as hazardous.

Reason: Special containers are needed to safely store hazardous waste until it can be properly disposed of, ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and preventing environmental contamination.

Premier Inns sustainable practices

Premier Inn (part of the Whitbread Group) is a British hotel chain and the UK’s largest hotel brand, with over 800 hotels and 72,000 rooms lays out its sustainability strategies.

Whitbread’s strategy to minimise food waste and its overall sustainability plans, detailed in its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, showcases a comprehensive approach to sustainability within its operations.

Key initiatives include:

  • A robust focus on reducing carbon emissions, with Whitbread setting ambitious targets to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
  • Committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), aligning its efforts with global efforts to combat climate change.
  • Pledged to cut food waste in half by 2030. Strategies implemented include monitoring food consumption patterns, implementing composting programs for organic waste, and donating unused food to local charities.

Whitbread’s sustainability initiatives, as detailed in their ESG report, illustrate their mulit dimensional approach to environmental responsibility.

The food waste conundrum

The WRAP report on The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Hotels provides compelling evidence that reducing food waste in hotels is environmentally responsible and financially beneficial.

💡 Analysing data from 42 hotel sites across 15 countries, the study reveals that hotels, on average, saw a seven times financial return for every pound invested in food waste reduction.

Key findings include that over 70% of sites recouped their investment within the first year, and 95% had done so by the second year.

The study also underscores no significant correlation between a site’s market segment or geography and its benefit-cost ratios, suggesting that these findings are broadly applicable to the hotel industry

It emphasises the importance of setting ambitious targets for food waste reduction, measuring progress, and taking action based on those measurements.

This aligns with the broader goal of achieving a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030, which is in line with Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

How can hotels handle food waste efficiently?

Hotels can handle food waste efficiently by implementing a strategy at every stage of the food lifecycle, from procurement to disposal.

Here are several key approaches:

  • Conduct a waste audit: Begin by assessing the amount and types of waste the hotel produces. Identifying the major sources of food waste is essential for effective management.
  • Rethink buffets: Buffets are often significant sources of food waste. Strategies to manage buffet waste include using smaller serving utensils, regularly refreshing small amounts of food, and encouraging guests to take smaller portions with the option to return for more.
  • Engage staff: Train staff on best practices for reducing food waste, including proper storage, inventory management, and creative reuse of leftovers. Staff engagement is crucial, as their daily practices significantly impact waste levels.
  • Donate excess food: Partner with local charities to donate edible food that is not sold or used. This not only reduces waste but also supports community welfare.
  • Implement a food waste reduction program: Invest in a program that tracks and monitors food waste. Technologies like smart scales can help quantify waste, making it easier to identify reduction opportunities.
  • Compost food waste: Composting is a viable option for inedible food waste. It reduces the volume of waste sent to landfills and can enrich soil in hotel gardens or green spaces.

Hotel waste management FAQs

Our waste experts answer common questions surrounding hotel waste management.

How can hotels incorporate waste management into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs?

Hotels can incorporate waste management into their CSR programs by adopting sustainable waste reduction, recycling, and disposal practices that align with environmental stewardship goals.

Initiatives can include implementing comprehensive recycling programs, reducing food waste through donation and composting, engaging in responsible sourcing that minimises packaging, and investing in energy-efficient and waste-reducing technologies.

These practices contribute to environmental conservation, enhance the hotel’s reputation, and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

What future trends are shaping hotel waste management?

Hotels increasingly prioritise sustainability and efficient resource use, with waste management emerging as a critical component of environmental responsibility.

Several key trends will shape hotel waste management in the future, reflecting a shift towards more sustainable, technology-driven, and community-focused approaches.

Here are some examples of future trends;

  • Zero-waste initiatives: Moving towards zero waste by reducing, reusing, and recycling to divert as much waste as possible from landfills.
  • Sustainable sourcing: Prioritising suppliers who minimise packaging and use recyclable or compostable materials.
  • Waste technology integration: Utilising smart waste management systems for efficient tracking, sorting, and reducing waste.
  • Waste-to-Energy: Exploring waste-to-energy opportunities where waste can be converted into renewable energy.