Reducing waste in a hotel

Energy efficiency

Heating your hotel is expensive. Ensure the door is kept closed except when in use to help maintain the temperature. Invest in an automatic closing mechanism if one is not already installed. The fitting of draught excluders will also help to prevent heat loss, improve comfort and cut costs.

Ensure computers and electronic equipment are switched off at night and monitors are switched off when staff are away from the reception. Use electronic communication where possible to reduce printing and when buying new equipment consider energy efficient models.

Replace bulbs with energy efficient, compact fluorescent lamps and slimline tubes. These can typically make immediate savings on your lighting bill of 50% and last ten times longer. Ensure lighting controls are clearly labelled with good signage, especially if grouped together.

Encourage staff to print documents only when absolutely necessary. Ensure the printer is set to print double-sided or multiple pages on one sheet. It is also a good idea to set up a recycling bin for waste paper next to your printer.

Furniture reuse

When refitting parts of your hotel, reduce landfill by donating unwanted furniture to a reuse organisation or charity. This also reduces virgin materials being used in the production of new items.

Staff engagement

Encourage staff to make a difference. Staff training is more effective if people feel included. Brainstorm ideas with them, keep track of progress by regularly monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for waste, water and energy. Benchmark performance and compare it with other sites within the company.

Waste (Scotland) Regulations

From the 1st January 2014 businesses will need to present metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection to comply with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations. Businesses which produce over 50kg of food waste per week also need to present food waste for separate collection from this date.


Use refillable spray containers and buy the contents in bulk. When purchasing cleaning equipment, check whether consumables such as filters and dust bags can be cleaned and reused. Review your cleaning regime to see if there are ways of reducing water use and waste, ensure staff comply with any changes to reduce your environmental impact.

Toiletries & En Suite

Typically, bottles of toiletries provided by a hotel to guests are thrown away still containing 70% of their contents. Using refillable tamper-proof soap/shampoo dispensers can drastically reduce wasted product and packaging and provide large economic savings. Use effective signage in a visible location to remind people to turn off lights in the toilet when they leave.

Consider replacing current showerheads with water efficient ones. Aerating showerheads can save up to 6 litres a minute and can be easily retrofitted. On a shower used twice a day for five minutes, an aerating showerhead costing around £5, could save around £30 a year in water and sewerage costs.

Ensure the shower control unit is regularly maintained as soap deposits or scale build-up can cause blockages and reduce performance. When refurbishing guest bathrooms, consider water efficient products and make sure they are correctly installed. If you are buying products on the Water Technology List (WTL) you could claim 100% first year capital allowance.

Ensure water use is minimised in toilets through the installation of volume reducers or dual flush mechanisms. When replacing or refurbishing your guest toilets consider purchasing one with a dual flush mechanism to half your water usage each flush.


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