Hotels are incredible hives of activity and spending time behind the scenes with the back of house teams gives you a truly fascinating insight into what makes them tick. Watching the kitchens, restaurants and bars operate like clockwork, all in the name of providing the customer with the very best service and experience, is what often makes the quality of hotel staff some of the very best across the wider hospitality market.
When you delve a little deeper into how the back of house operations are run, you notice that the staff and managers have their work cut out in ensuring that areas are kept clean, waste is collected and removed promptly and that all of these responsibilities are managed within tight budgets.
It is the area of waste and how it is managed that becomes particularly interesting to understand. When you factor in that medium to large hotels in the UK produce between 80 and 350 tonnes of food waste alone per year and that the way in which they manage their waste can in most cases be vastly different.
Some hotels have the tools in place to separate their waste to an extent, others separate their glass and cardboard but place all other waste in general waste, which may consist of large wheelie bins or a compactor on site. In some cases there are those hotels that do not separate there waste at all and everything goes into general waste.
Economic value in separating waste
The traditional form of waste collection, whereby trucks drive hundreds of miles everyday to collect bins and bags of waste is a very costly exercise. There are numerous costs that make up the price that hotels are charged to have their waste collected. When you factor in fuel and running costs of vehicles, the costs involved in separating the waste at recycling plants and then the charges from landfill sites to dispose of the remaining waste, plus the margin that the waste collection company needs to add on to make it worth their while, it is no wonder that waste collection charges are so high. Not to mention the cost to the environment from diesel and green house gas emissions emitted during the process.
When analysing the costs involved, it becomes very clear that dedicated separation of waste and, where possible, disposing of waste on site, delivers very impressive savings.
Not enough emphasis placed on separating waste on-site
BioHiTech Europe, based in London, has proved to take this a step further and is delivering significant economic and environmental savings to hotel and hospitality customers in the UK, with the introduction of its Eco-Safe Digester.
The Eco-Safe Digester, introduced to the UK in October of 2015 and recently accredited by the Carbon Trust under waste savings, uses natural microorganisms to digest food waste on-site and convert it into wastewater that can be safely disposed of down the drain. Eliminating the need for food waste to be collected and instantly converting that cost into a saving. With some customers reporting savings of more than 60% over traditional collection costs.
On top of those savings, hotels are finding that the introduction of the Eco-Safe food waste digester has also highlighted the additional benefits associated with segregating waste on-site.
In working closely with customers, BioHiTech Europe has found that being able to direct all food waste to the digester and in doing so separate food waste or wet waste from general waste, has allowed customers to reclassify their general waste to Dry Mixed Recycling (“DMR”), and the savings can be anywhere between 25% to 70%.
Not enough emphasis is placed on the advantages of separating waste on site. For some customers the introduction of the digester together with detailed waste separation initiatives has reduced their general waste from 68% to as little as 8% of their total waste, allowing them to remove their compactor altogether.
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak
Looking at the Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair, London, shortly after installing their Eco-Safe Digester, the savings made over collection costs plus the savings made in cleaning and staff costs now that their bin area was free of food waste, justified the need for a second unit at their Runnymede-on-Thames Hotel.
It was at the Runnymede-on-Thames Hotel that the introduction of the digester allowed them to remove their compactor and completely clean up their waste area. Those savings and operational benefits were so significant to the hotel group that they have now installed another digester at The Grove Hotel and Resort.
The future of waste
Hotel owners and operators within the UK, and around the world, are making the shift from traditional waste management to a more economic and environmentally sustainable solution. BioHiTech is at the forefront of supporting businesses in making this innovative and efficient move, a move that hotel owners and managers will no doubt appreciate.
About the Author
Alex Giacchetti is the president of BioHiTech Europe