Are You Properly Managing Your Hotel's Waste Products?
By Maricha Ellis VP of Marketing & Sales Operations, Stericycle Environmental Solutions | September 10, 2017
There are many guidelines and best practices to follow in order to operate a hazardous waste management program that complies with all federal and state regulations. As many hotels are now dedicating a considerable amount of effort and resources to become more environmentally friendly, it's important to make sure their hazardous waste management practices are aligned with their sustainability program goals.
Hazardous waste comes in many different forms and appears in many different areas of a hotel's property. From toiletry items left behind in guest rooms to commonly-used cleaning products, there is no shortage of hazardous waste accumulated in a hotel. There are many best practices to follow when handling hazardous waste on your property, and a foundational understanding of the regulations defining what constitutes hazardous waste is key to laying the groundwork for a proper hazardous waste management program.
The Fundamentals of Hazardous Waste Management
Certain items commonly found in hotels have hazardous properties. Once an item containing these properties becomes no longer usable, it is deemed to be hazardous waste and must be disposed of in accordance with government-mandated guidelines. Because hotels are considered generators of hazardous waste, there are certain federal and state regulations that must be followed in order to avoid penalties and prevent environmental damage.
Passed by Congress in 1976, the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) states that the generator of hazardous waste is responsible for their waste from the time of generation to the final destruction of the waste. Because the waste is generated at your hotel, you are responsible for identifying and storing it correctly. To ensure hazardous waste management is handled in a safe, efficient and compliant manner, hotels typically employ a service provider to customize a program, training and disposal pick up schedule that best suits the unique needs of their property. Once a hazardous waste management service provider picks up the hazardous waste, that organization assumes the responsibility of the waste and transports it to a treatment facility.
What is Considered Hazardous Waste?