04 Jun, 2024
Written By: Josh Morris

Throughout the UK, there are 1000s of hotels, some big, some boutique.

For every hotel room, posh reception, fine dining and pool & spa, there is a hidden underground world that not many of us get to see. 

We are talking waste management in the hotel industry,

Behind each hotel is a vast working machine. Cleaning Rooms, Delivering Goods, Cooking Food, Serving Guests and Washing Clothes. Without this vital infrastructure, hotels wouldn't be able to open their doors. 

But, with all this going on behind the scenes, the last thing new hotel owners and managers need is the added stress and worry of dealing with all the excess hotel waste piling up!  

Well, worry no more, as with our Busy Bins Hotel Waste Management Guide, we will give you the full run-down on all things Hotel Waste from: Waste Facts, Bins We Recommend for Each Waste Type & Best Waste Management Practices to Eco-Friendly Training Tips to reduce waste. 

Time to check-in!

Busy Bins Waste & Recycling Guide for Hotels Illustration of waste and recycling guidelines for hotels, including Busy Bins bins for general waste and recyclables, with buildings labelled B&B and Hotel in the background..

Hotel Waste Facts & Statistics 

Let's get right into the nitty gritty stats: 

  • 289,700 tonnes of hotel waste is generated every year, with an estimated value of £318 million. Not bad work if you can get it.
  • Almost 35 million people use hotels in the UK annually for business trips, holidays, and visiting friends and family.
  • 9.5 million tonnes of organic waste is thrown away every year.
  • £28 billion is spent on catering events. 
  • UK hotels contribute significantly to landfill waste, with estimates suggesting that the hospitality sector sends over 2 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year.

What Type of Waste does a Hotel Create and What Bins Would We Recommend 

General Waste: Your bog standard different types of waste such as: Reception waste, general hotel room bins. 

We recommend: 2/3 x 1100L General waste bins for waste disposal. 

Cardboard Waste: Packaging materials from deliveries, shipments, and storage areas.

We recommend: 660L Paper & Cardboard Waste bin.

Glass & Plastic Waste: Bottles and containers used for beverages or food products. This could be from the hotel bar or restaurant. 

We recommend: Dedicated 1100L glass & plastic recycling bins . Make sure that these are clearly labelled to help easily identify. 

Food Waste: Food scraps, leftover beverages, and other organic materials from restaurants, concessions, and guest areas.

We recommend: A 660L food waste bin should give enough space. 

E-Waste: Broken or outdated electronic devices, such as TVs, monitors, sound systems, and lighting fixtures.

We recommend: A specialised e-waste bin should be used for hotel e-waste. Hotels could look to partner with certified e-waste recyclers for proper disposal method and recycling of electronic devices. 

Bulky Waste: There are plenty of bulky items inside hotels. These could be: Hotel Room Furniture or Mattresses. As well as other general bulky items if renovations are taking place. 

We recommend: Look at using a trusty bulky waste management company. Most bulky items won't fit in waste bins so finding a proper waste management company can be crucial. 

Hazardous waste: This could include any sharp items such as needles & syringes. 

We recommend: Secure sharps disposal containers specifically designed to safely contain and dispose of sharps waste. These bins should be located in areas where staff can safely access them for disposal.

Confidential: Confidential waste could be private documents, such as hotel employee and guest details or safe deposit box codes. These should all be stored safely. 

We recommend: Hotels should establish a set routine for the secure handling and disposal of confidential documents. This could be by choosing an effective waste management shredding company.

Best Waste Management Practices for a Hotel

Scouring the internet, you will find many guides with many different practices and tips on how best to manage the environmental impact of waste in hotels. Some may be relevant, some not so much.

This is why we have gone and put together the effective methods of waste management that you can use in your hotel and share within the hospitality industry...

Conduct Waste Audits - Start by conducting a waste audit to understand the types and amount of waste generation in your hotel. This analysis will help identify areas for improvement and guide waste reduction strategies. If you not sure on where to begin with your waste audit, you can read our blog on how to conduct this here: LINK TO WASTE AUDIT BLOG

Set up a recycling station - Set up designated recycling stations with clearly labelled bins in your hotel. Make sure each bin has clear labels. 

Implement energy-efficient practices - Install energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling systems around the hotel. Saving money and the planet.

Compost - If you have an outdoor back area away from guests, why not look at creating a compost? Or better still, you could even encourage hotel guests to get involved with your composting efforts. 

Food Waste Reduction - Implement measures to reduce food waste in kitchen operations, such as portion control, menu planning based on seasonal availability, and donation of surplus food to local charities or food banks.

Single-Use Plastic Reduction -  Phase out single-use plastics wherever possible and replace them with sustainable alternatives such as biodegradable or compostable materials. Provide refillable toiletry dispensers in guest rooms. 

Employee Training - Train staff on proper waste segregation techniques, recycling procedures, and waste reduction practices. Encourage active participation and provide ongoing education to ensure compliance with waste management protocols.

Waste Strategies -  Develop a comprehensive hotel waste management plan that outlines specific strategies and actions to achieve your recycling goals. Are you going to look at becoming a zero-waste hotel? Do you want to partner with local food banks to ensure all food waste is going to a worthy place? By looking at long term goals and strategies on how to achieve this, you can set up waste plans that work. 

Partnerships and Collaboration - Work together with local recycling companies as well as local organisations in and around your hotel community. This not only helps your hotel with a more well oiled waste management system in place, but shows you and your community that you want to work together.

Hotel Waste Laws & Regulations in the UK

Running a hotel isn't just opening rooms, letting guests go about their business and watching the waste pile up. Within the UK, there are a number of strict waste laws and regulations for waste management in hotels...these are: 

Environmental Protection Act 1990:

The Environmental Protection Act provides the legal framework for waste management in the UK, including the duty of care for waste producers to ensure that waste is properly managed and disposed of.

It sets out requirements for waste collection, disposal, and treatment, as well as penalties for non-compliance.

Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011:

These regulations transpose EU waste directives into UK law and outline specific requirements for waste management, including waste classification, handling, and documentation.

They also establish the Waste Hierarchy, which prioritizes waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and recovery over disposal to landfill or incineration.

Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012:

Similar to the regulations in England and Wales, the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 govern waste management practices in Scotland, including waste classification, segregation, and treatment requirements.

Waste Management Licensing Regulations:

Waste management activities, such as waste collection, treatment, and disposal, may require a waste management license or permit from the relevant environmental regulatory authority.

Hotels must ensure compliance with licensing requirements if they engage in activities that involve the handling or treatment of waste on-site.

Landfill Tax:

Landfill Tax is levied on waste disposed of at landfill sites in the UK. The tax aims to discourage waste disposal to landfill and incentivise waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

Hotels should be aware of the Landfill Tax rates and ensure proper waste management practices to minimise waste sent to landfill and avoid unnecessary tax bills..

Packaging Waste Regulations:

The Packaging Waste Regulations require businesses, which includes hotels, to take responsibility for the packaging waste they generate.

Hotels that handle packaged goods are required to register with a compliance scheme and meet packaging waste recycling targets or pay a compliance fee.

Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations:

These regulations place obligations on producers, importers, and retailers of packaging to finance the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

Hotels that place packaged goods on the market may have obligations under these regulations, particularly if they import goods packaged outside the UK.

Duty of Care:

The Duty of Care provisions under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 require businesses, including hotels, to ensure that waste is stored, transported, and disposed of safely and legally.

Hotels must maintain accurate waste transfer notes and ensure that waste is transferred only to authorised carriers and disposal facilities. You can more info on Duty of Cares in our blog here - INSERT LINK TO DOC BLOG

Promoting Sustainability in Your Hotel 

Encouraging sustainability within your hotel not only helps the environment but also boosts your brand image, draws in eco-minded guests, and can result in financial savings over time.

Here are some successful, cost-effective strategies for promoting sustainability in your hotel:

Reduce Energy: Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting to help reduce your energy consumption. Also, you could encourage guests to get involved by installing key card activated lighting and providing guests with some energy saving practices. 

Conserve Water: We aren't saying tell your guests to save their bath water and bring it down to reception! Install low-flow showerheads, and toilets to reduce water consumption in guest rooms and common areas.

Manage Waste Effectively: Managing hotel waste may seem the norm for hotel managers out there, but, to really look at how you are managing this. You could...

  • Implement a comprehensive waste management program that includes source segregation, recycling, composting, and proper disposal of hazardous and electronic waste.
  • Educate staff and guests about waste reduction and recycling practices, and provide clear signage and recycling bins throughout the hotel.

Sustainable Dining: No, we don't mean serve Michelin star food on paper or plastic plates alongside McDonalds paper straws. 

  • Source local, seasonal, and organic ingredients for your restaurant menus to support local farmers and reduce carbon emissions from food transportation. 
  • Partner with local charities so that any surplus or extra food can be donated, This means that no food is going to waste and it is sent to people who really need it. Also it saves you money from paying for food waste collection and disposal. 

Community Engagement: The community around a hotel is crucial to success. If a hotel doesn't involve their community, the community will not involve the hotel. 

  • Engage with the local community through partnerships with environmental organisations, participation in community clean-up events, and supporting sustainable tourism initiatives.
  • Offer eco-friendly activities and tours that promote appreciation for local culture, wildlife, and natural attractions.

Educate Staff and Guests: Educate your staff on the best practices and routines that need to be carried out in the hotel. Also, place clear signage around your hotel, so that guests can easily see and recognise your sustainability efforts. 

Monitor Progress: As with anything, monitor your progress along the way. This way you can full decide and see what bits are working and what needs to be improved. Review your progress every 3 months. 

Eco-Friendly Training & Practices for Hotel Staff

If you are seeking ways to improve the skills and knowledge of your employees, we have compiled a helpful list of eco-friendly techniques for you to explore and benefit from:

It's important to understand that individuals learn in unique ways, so finding the right approach for you and your staff is essential. 

Supportive tools and equipment - There are plenty of supportive tools out there to help your staff gain more knowledge and support on eco-friendly practices. Green certification programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Green Key certification are great starting points. These programs educate hotel staff in more sustainable operations for waste in the hospitality industry, 

Green Cleaning Practices: Train housekeeping staff on the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and methods. Use eco-friendly cleaning agents and equipment to minimise the use of harsh chemicals and reduce water consumption.

Guest Engagement: Let your guests jump onboard your eco-friendly practices. Train staff to engage guests in sustainable practices during their stay, such as encouraging them to participate in towel reuse programs, and providing recycling bins in guest rooms.

Providing training manuals, guides, and visual materials - Support all your staff with visual and on hand training materials so that they can easily have a refresher on eco-friendly guides.  

Resources & Tools for Green Training 

Green Tourism - This website offers help and support for tourism businesses, such as hotels and the wider hospitality industry, to promote sustainability in their place of work. They provide this through the form of programs and training where hotels will gain certificates, which shows that they practicing more sustainable ways of working. 

Link to site: https://www.green-tourism.com/pages/home

Fee: £75 for first year but ongoing fee depends on the size of the hotel. 

Considerate Group (Considerate Hoteliers) - They provide guidance and support to help hotels improve the environmental impact of hotel operations and provide access to tools, resources, communities, strategies and toolkits. They already have a variety of hotels that use their service, such as, Cedar Manor,, Draycott Hotel & KWest. 

Link to site: https://considerategroup.com/about-us/

Online Platforms and Forums: Explore hospitality-related websites and forums like Hospitality Net and Sustainable Hospitality Alliance for articles, case studies, and discussions on more sustainable practices.

Link to sites: www.hospitalitynet.org & https://sustainablehospitalityalliance.org/

Waste Collection Services for Your Hotel 

With deliveries, employees, luggage, bedding, wages and most importantly, paying customers to attend too, managing hotel waste can find itself sinking down the long lists of jobs to do. 

This is why finding the right local waste management and recycling services to pair up with is crucial for your hotel, finances and ensuring your guests have the best possible stay. 

When researching a local waste partner, here are some things that you should look out for: 

Recycling Programs: Collaborate with waste management partners to implement recycling programs within your hotel. Determine which recyclable waste you produce and establish collection points and procedures for recycling.

Services: What services do they offer? Where does the waste and recycling get processed? Find out which services they provide for waste handling in hotels and hospitality.

Reviews: Check customer reviews and case studies from other businesses to get an unbiased view of the waste management services on offer. 

Customised Solutions: Work with the waste company so that they fully understand your waste management needs. Will you need skip hire, junk removal etc?

Ask for References and Recommendations: Ask potential waste providers for references from local hotels they have serviced. Reach out to these references to gather feedback on the provider's reliability, responsiveness, and overall satisfaction with their services.

Compare Pricing and Contracts: Request quotes from multiple waste providers and compare pricing structures, including fees for collection, recycling, disposal, and any additional services. Review contract terms carefully, including contract length, renewal options, and termination clauses.

At Busy Bins, we offer a full range of services that can help hotels stay seamlessly running and reduce their environmental footprint. 

With guests, deliveries, staff members, rooms, renovations, wages, events and more to cater for, the last thing you should be doing is worrying about if and when your waste is being collected or if it is even collected at all. 

We truly understand the importance of waste management in hotels. 

Here are a few reasons why you should use us for your waste management and disposal:

  • Fully Accredited & Licensed. 
  • 12 months contracts / No Auto-Renewal
  • Dispose of waste correctly! No Landfill! All your rubbish is sent to an Waste to Energy facility to ensure your nursery is as environmentally friendly as ever.
  • Clear waste disposal costs. No Hidden Fees!
  • If you wish to see any of our legal documentation then please email binfo@busybins.co.uk and we will be happy to provide copies of this. Our waste carriers licence number is CB/DU222271 for any online checks you wish to carry out.

Don't just take our word for it though, throughout our 7 years of being in business, we have received over 1000 verified customers reviews who have rated us 4.9 out of 5 on our service. 

To have a peek out our reviews, click here: https://busybins.co.uk/reviews



Remember, managing waste isn't just about being green; it's about making your hotel an eco-friendly and welcoming place to stay for all your guests.

Ditch single-use plastics and embracing recycling like it's the latest VIP walking through your revolving doors, you aren't just saving the planet; you're setting a new hospitality standard. 

Who said eco-friendly hotels have to be the next best kept secret? We want your guests shouting and raving about all the sustainable and positive practices that you are implementing. 

By following our guide, you can get your waste as neat and under control as the corner of your hotel bed-sheets, so get out there and get it done!

Once again, thank you for being our guest. 

We hope you enjoyed your stay!

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