Green Guidelines: Recycling Programs

A 300-room hotel can generate as much as three tons of waste per day, 60% of which is recyclable. That means a property could potentially cut waste pickup in half. Assuming a pickup cost of $400 (and assuming no additional fees for recycling pickup), that would potentially reduce waste costs from $20,800 to $10,400 yearly.

Implementing a Recycling Program

  • First, discuss your interest in recycling with your trash or recycling hauler, asking their assessment of what is collected from your property, the number and size of recycling containers your property will require, the dumpster size, the frequency that the dumpster will be emptied and all fees involved;

  • Next, design a plan that accommodates your hotel’s operational procedures and activities. The EPA’s WasteWise is a great resource for creating a waste-reduction program, but as a general rule:

    • The best placement for recycling bins is next to existing trash cans, in guest rooms as well as at the front desk, in the business center, in meeting rooms, in vending machine areas and in the lobby

    • Recycle bins can also be placed throughout the back of house operations to recycle cardboard, paper, glass, metals, plastics and printer and toner cartridges;

  • You'll also need to train employees about what can be recycled, how items are collected and program benefits; a recycling service may offer employee training or education materials;

  • You can educate guests about recycling through guest books, media boards and in-house television; most guests are already familiar with recycling from home or work;

  • Finally, your hotel’s recycling program is in place, you will want to monitor its progress to evaluate cost-effectiveness, employee participation and environmental impact.

Resources for Implementing a Recycling Program  

Information on local recycling programs and support