Top 10 Hotel Amenity Recycling Strategies

By Michael Hess Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Waste Harmonics | September 16, 2018

The uniqueness of your hotel's offerings helps your property stand out in a crowded hospitality marketplace, but could result in additional headaches when considering the best way to dispose of these goods. Hotel guests adore the varied accoutrements offered by accommodations big and small around the globe. But keeping an edge on in-room swag results in other considerations and complications-even when it comes time to trash the discarded leftovers. What are the most cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly practices when recycling amenity items guests leave behind? Here are 10 of the best ways to recycle.

1.    Thoroughly evaluate your recycling needs

Audit, audit, audit. How do you know what your needs are if you don't understand your waste output? Hotels can recycle an incredible number of amenities. A waste audit results in a thorough examination of the amount and type of waste hotels produce, as well as the source of the waste. Not all waste is created equal-your amenities may cost much more to transport and recycle. A thorough look at your practices and needs sets the baseline for future practices and allows hoteliers to tailor programs to the personalized needs of hotel properties. The type of recycling program you need is unique not only to your industry, but to your specific property. It's worth the investment up front to implement cost savings by evaluating your recycling efforts.

2.    Continuously monitor and evaluate

Not only are your waste needs unique, they also change with the seasons, just like your guests. Auditing your waste is the first step, but the real benefit comes from a continuous monitoring of a hotel owner and operator's waste output. Arguably the most oversimplified and overlooked aspect of recycling, metrics allow you to capture essential information throughout the entire process. So hoteliers will be able to understand the flow of amenity recycling from start to finish as long as you decide to evaluate it. Whether guests are recycling shampoo bottles, mouthwash containers, water bottles, newspapers or other items, the type and amount of waste fluctuates throughout time and should be closely examined so your recycling is optimized.

Partnering with a provider that will use metrics and measurements to evaluate waste flow over time is a game changer when it comes to reducing costs (and your environmental footprint). In addition, some waste solutions even include the monitoring of your entire waste system-temperature, controls and connections, safety features, performance, fullness and more. As a result, the provider can calibrate your equipment and service to your exact needs. Plus, with an increasing number of vendors taking advantage of the Internet of Things, simply renting a "smart" compactor allows hotel owners and operators to take advantage of a completely integrated product tailored to your program, with remote monitoring included.

For hoteliers who decide to monitor their recycling process, there are business platforms that capture cost reduction, track it and generate reports for recycling productivity. Remember, most waste management companies offer nice upfront savings when beginning a program. You should partner, however, with a provider that offers continuous improvement on an ongoing basis and the reporting to support it.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.