Hospitality Commercial Waste Management

by | Aug 13, 2019


Hospitality is the fourth largest industry in the UK. Thus, hospitality businesses stand to benefit from a waste management strategy and a shift to resource efficiency. This involves looking at the different types of waste and the most responsible, compliant means of disposal. It also means looking at the entire value chain to minimise what goes into the skip in the first place.

Hospitality waste quick facts

  • According to WRAP, the hospitality sector generates more than 2 million tonnes of waste each year.
  • 61% of packaging is glass, produced mainly by pubs, hotels, and restaurants. This is the heaviest form of packaging.
  • The hospitality industry is the third biggest employer in the UK, employing 2.9 million people.
  • The hospitality industry makes around £30 billion per year.
  • The hospitality industry generates around 4 million tonnes of food waste.
  • Hospitality wastes £2.5 billion in food waste each year.
  • Businesses in the hospitality sector can save up to 40% by recycling food waste.
  • Recycling can reduce the weight of waste for pubs by up to 30%, hotels by 16%, and nightclubs by 98%.

The benefits of a waste management strategy


With ever-rising landfill taxes and the cost of general waste, businesses in the hospitality industry can save on everyday processes, improve their bottom line, and re-allocate funds to building their businesses through clever, sustainable waste management.


Different types of waste have different effects on the environment. Plastics, for instance, have a well-known reputation for the damage they do to the environment. It is widely acknowledged that a shift in attitude is absolutely critical when it comes to waste. This isn’t only about what ends up in landfills. It covers our sustainable use of raw materials, packaging, transportation and storage.


A streamlined waste management system tends to have a positive overall operational effect. This affects staff attitudes to waste and the supply chain, but also the regularity of collection for reduced storage and logistics.


Working with qualified commercial waste management specialists is one way of ensuring your business meets its statutory obligations around its waste disposal.

Corporate profile

Environmental considerations are becoming more and more important to consumers. As environmental conscientiousness grows, so members of the public have developed an interest in the hospitality sector’s strategy to reduce its environmental impact. A responsible waste management strategy enhances your image and forms a component of corporate social responsibility for larger enterprises.

Competitive edge

It’s been reported that 40% of businesses in the hospitality industry have sought ways to become more sustainable. That means sustainable innovation will be key to retaining an edge over competitors.

Food waste in the hospitality industry

The hospitality industry will always generate unavoidable food waste. That is why reducing food waste as much as possible – and engaging in a culture of sustainable disposal – is of fundamental importance to the hospitality sector.

Key considerations around food waste

  • When food waste goes to landfill, it can be very damaging to the environment. It generates harmful greenhouse gases and contaminates groundwater.
  • Rather than send food waste to landfill, it now contributes as a renewable energy source, fertiliser, or compost through anaerobic digestion or forms part of energy recovery through incineration.
  • Sending food waste to landfill is expensive. An overweight general waste bin can cost 12p to 30p per kilogram. Recycling food waste can result in significant savings.

How can the hospitality industry reduce food waste?

According to ReFood, two-thirds of the hospitality sector’s food waste could be eaten through better planning, portioning, management, storage, and preparation.

Source local

Local produce has become a sterling marketable point for restaurants and hotels. Keep up with the trend and reduce your food waste at the same time.

Look to your pantry

Stocking lots of perishable items leaves greater scope for waste. Look for fresh, seasonal produce wherever possible. On the other end of the spectrum, source high-quality frozen items to reduce waste. Also try to use as many core ingredients across your dishes as possible to prevent wastage where one meal sells better than another.


Ensure you conduct accurate stock predictions, check deliveries for damaged items, and rotate your pantry cleverly to get the most out of your ingredients’ lifespans.

Do you need to do it all?

Some ready-made ingredients can save time, energy, and waste in the kitchen. Shop around to find out what needs to be done in-house and what can be outsourced.

Portion control

Reconsider the size of generous portions. You can also save money and waste by eliminating garnishes from your plates.

Re-evaluate the value of buffets

Come up with ways to re-use and recycle any leftover buffet food.

What’s on the menu?

Change your menu regularly and according to your sales. Retain those dishes that sell well and re-think the slow movers. Customers also love a changing menu!


Charitable giving of unused food items is gaining popularity. Feed the hungry and boost your business’s reputation around food waste policy.

Hospitality waste quick tips

  • Reduce or eliminate single-use plastic items, such as straws and polystyrene takeaway cups and boxes, and water bottles. This strategy is being implemented by an increasing number of businesses. Don’t let yours get left behind.
  • Make food waste a top priority and enjoy potential significant cost benefits and an improved environmental profile.
  • Optimising your business waste strategy involves first understanding your waste. Look at the volume, materials, disposal methods, and costs currently employed and take it from there. Work with waste management specialists to find out how to strategise for reduced waste and savings.
  • Don’t rest on your laurels. Once a waste management strategy is implemented, keep an eye on it and fine-tune wherever possible.

Viewing waste as a component of Smarter Business

  • The hospitality sector is extremely energy-intensive, amounting to around £1.36 billion. This means these businesses need to look beyond the bin when it comes to waste. Strategise around the energy of your hospitality business through industry-leading procurement, monitoring, and management services.
  • Water is another point of strategy for businesses in the hospitality industry. Understand your usage, shop the market for the most suitable contract for your circumstances, and get the best tariffs.
  • Outsourcing facilities maintenance services can have immense cost and operational benefits for hotels, pubs, and restaurants.
  • Merchant services are critical to getting paid – but they can also have exorbitant fees and charges. This means ensuring you are getting the best deals on your payment services is of the utmost importance.

Contact Smarter Business today to develop your hospitality business’s waste strategy. Our team of experts partner with SMEs and large, multi-site concerns consolidate their business services for savings and strategy.

Use our handy calculator to find out how much you could save on your hotel’s energy bills.

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