The aim of this article is to give you an insight into how hotels can reduce food waste.  This reduction not only benefits the bottom line of the business but is better for the environment.

So, there is food waste what is the problem?

You could easily ask yourself, so food gets wasted, what is the problem.  Have a read of the shocking facts below and we think you will begin to understand why there it is a problem:

  • Money lost, covering:
    • Growing
    • Preparing
    • Cooking
    • Storing
    • Transporting
  • A third of the food that is produced for humans to consume each year is wasted or lost.
  • If you were to think of food waste as a country it would be the world’s third biggest emitter of CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Methane is produced when food rots and this is a contributor to global warming.
  • When food is wasted the following that has been used to produce it is lost:
    • Water.
    • Energy.
    • Time.
    • Manpower.
    • Land.
    • Fertilizer.
    • Fuel.
    • Packaging.


If the above hasn’t yet convinced you: The cost of food waste to the hotel sector of industry each year within the U.K. is 318 Million (includes items such as associated procurement and waste management).

Should my hotel take action on food waste?

Hotels can get the benefit of financial savings by applying a few basic steps, so waste is reduced and recycling is increased.  Please see the rest of this article to find out more.

Waste, where is it generated?

A hotel may say that we have no wastage as the vast majority of our plates come back empty/clean.  It should be noted however that food waste isn’t just focused on the plate.  Food waste comes under three main categories:

  • Food preparation wastage
    • Trimmings and peelings.
    • Non-edible by-products e.g. Tea leaves, Bones, Coffee grounds.
    • Kitchen error.
  • Customer Plates
    • Plate waste.
  • Spoiled
    • Spoiled / Out of date food.

Although even in a superbly operating kitchen there will be food waste.  The focus should be on how to reduce what is produced before you work on the best way of disposing of it.  We have covered below how to go about reducing your food waste.


Food waste, how to reduce it?

  • You need to ensure you regularly measure your food waste. If you don’t measure it, you won’t know if your efforts to reduced food waste has been successful.
    • Your approach could for example be three separate bins one each for:
      • Preparation waste.
      • Spoilage waste.
      • Plate waste.
    • By performing a daily weigh of the bins, you will get a view on where you main wastage areas are. It is advisable to inform staff as to the reasons why you are having them perform this exercise.  This will help to ensure that it is an effective exercise.
      • Note: It is also very beneficial to monitor plate waste composition as otherwise you are potentially wasting meat that is an expensive component of any plate
  • Make a plan of action that includes responsibilities, timescales and targets. It should include:
  • Perform a review of your delivery processes and stock management especially for items with a quick shelf life. Also ensure you have strict stock rotation that makes sure that items with the shortest date left are used first.
  • Make sure your stock is correctly stored, from temperature to having the date labels always visible to make the process easier.
  • Consider making use of frozen and dried ingredients as these will have a long life.
  • By keeping a keen eye on the number of reservations will allow you to minimise over preparation.
  • By smart menu planning waste can also be reduced. Such as waste from the preparation of one dish can be used in the preparation of another e.g. bones from one dish being used to prepare stock that will be use in another.  Or you could for example offer potatoes with the skins on as this reduces the waste of potato peelings.
  • You can even use close to date products to make meals for staff, so the food does not go to waste.


  • Perform a progress review against the plan every month using your regularly measured waste figures.
    • Keep communicating with your staff on the waste reduction project. This will help keep their hearts and minds in the project.
    • When you are measuring the quantity of waste you need to calculate the amount of money you are saving as you go along. This will help you to ensure your business as well as the environment is benefiting.


The importance of staff communication and training on a waste reduction project

It is imperative you fully get your staff on board with the waste reduction project you are putting in place.  You will need to ensure you are clear from the outset who is to be involved and their responsibilities.

You should be aware it does take time for new processes to be embedded in an operation so don’t loose heart.  Just make sure that all the identified staff know:

  • What they need to do.
  • Where they need to do it.
  • Why they are doing it.
  • When they need to do it.
  • How they need to do it.


When you do have food waste, how can you optimise recycling?

  • Make sure your bins are clearly labelled with what should go in them and that there are a sufficient number of categories of bin. This will help to ensure that items are not put into inappropriate bins.
  • Make sure you select a professional waste management solution company such as ‘Central Waste’ to ensure your waste is handled correctly.
    • Ensure your waste management company provide you with data on your waste from each collection. This will give you additional information on which you can make further changes.
  • As there isn’t a land fill tax applied to recycling there is the potential for a lower waste removal cost on this type of waste.


  • Ensure your staffs understanding of the waste reduction approach down to what goes in which bin and the impact if they don’t do this.
  • Give thought to collaborating with other local business who also produce food-based waste. We suggest this as you may be able to coordinate waste collections with a waste management company and so potentially reduce the cost to your hotel.

Next Steps

The best way to move forward with your waste disposal needs is as mentioned above to engage with a professional waste management company.  Here at ‘Central Waste’ we are ready to be in your corner for your waste management needs.  Please give our friendly and knowledgeable staff a call to see how we can be of help to you and your business.