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The hotel industry produces and average of 289,700 tonne of waste globally each year, including 79,000 tonnes of food waste. Types of waste in hotels can consist of packaging, amenity containers, waste water from toilets, kitchens and laundries. Alongside food waste, the majority of waste produced by hotels is plastic waste.

holiday hotel

Plastic can be present in hotels in a wide variety of forms:

  • Cups
  • Straws
  • Coffee lids
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Amenity kits
  • Individually wrapped chocolates
  • Minibars
  • Breakfast buffets
  • Event spaces
  • The kitchen
  • Supplier deliveries

What is the problem?

Plastic pollution is a big issue globally. 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK alone, which is equivalent to around 15 million plastic bottles per day, and that’s just the UK!

resort rubbish

The reason that plastic is used by so many hotels is because it is so cheap. Plastic alternatives however can be costly, which means that hotels may need to spend more money to avoid plastics. Few companies want that expense, and those that are willing to up their cost may pass it on to the guest.

Shockingly, 91 percent of plastic waste isn’t recycled. According to National Geographic, 73 percent of beach litter is plastic, and nearly one million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute worldwide(). A plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment. it will slowly fragment into smaller and smaller pieces which eventually end up microscopic but never truly go away.

Read the full article of the hotel industries issue with plastic

What is being done?

As the world becomes more aware of the issues surrounding the amount of waste and plastic pollution, more hotels are taking the first steps in reducing their plastic use, as well as encouraging their guests to do so.


For example, Hilton plans to cut 250 million plastic straws globally by the end of July, straws and bottles being a top priority, according to Foster of Hilton.

The brand also has a zero-plastics room in Amsterdam, reported saving 40 tons of plastic through 7.6 million digital key downloads, and tracks its waste levels not specific to plastics.


Another hotel chain following suit is Marriot. Marriott International has begun eliminating single-use plastic from 450 hotels, including 60 hotels in the United Kingdom, where it estimates 300,000 plastic straws were used last year. Marriot has pledged to replace plastic in hotels by years end.

Walt Disney Company also pledges to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers across all properties that it owns and operates, including its resort hotels, by mid-2019. Disney also pledges to transition to refillable in-room amenity bottles, reduce the number of plastic shopping bags available and eliminate polystyrene cups at its resorts and cruise ships.

Walt Disney

The impact from the straw and stirrer initiative alone is expected to €œamount to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually,€ according to a company news release.

Some hotels are also providing guests with re-usable water bottles or pouches to replace single use plastic bottled water.

Read the full article to see how hotels companies and resorts are banning plastic.

What you can do!

Properly disposing of your waste can help to save money in the long term, as your waste disposal costs are likely to increase steadily due to diminishing landfill capacity and the cost of collections. You may also be able to make money from your hotels waste. Many items of waste have value because they can be recycled into something else. So if you haven’t already, now is the time to set up a hotel waste management programme.


Identify where your waste is created in order to figure out ways it can be reduced. Also, look closely within each department and list all the items you dispose of. this could also include business waste, cleaning products and food waste.

Look at the method of disposal together with an estimate of the yearly quantities involved and the annual costs. Have a closer look at all the items you dispose of and see if there are ways it can be reduced, recovered, re-used or recycled.

It is also a good idea to look at what your financial savings will be from things such as ordering less to start with, reduced disposal costs and revenue from the sale of waste materials. To implement a waste management programme and for it to be successful, it is important that staff are trained to manage the process of sorting and collection.

What Inciner8 can do for you

Inciner8 have deployed a number of hotel waste incinerators over recent years and see the hospitality industry as a growing market. Incineration is by far the most cost efficient and safe way to destroy waste in remote locations. With limited or no grid access, our oil or gas fired systems can be easily operated with no large overheads.

hotel incinerator

Our pollution control systems and odour removal modules mean that guests are completely un-affected by the system. The waste generated from hotels and resorts is usually considered as MSW (Municipal Solid Waste).

This comprises typically of food waste in hotels, wood, plastics, cardboard and paper. All of which are safe to incinerate.

Our range of general waste incinerators are broad enough to cater for any sized hotel operation. If you run a large-scale island resort or a small independent hotel, we have waste solutions that will fit your budget and waste capacity.

You can also use the excess heat from incineration to create electricity, hot air and/or hot water for cleaning. Waste to Energy is now being used in many resorts and hotel complexes worldwide as, companies look at other ways to conserve energy and do their bit for the environment.

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