How to dispose of food waste in hotels

Guide for hotels on sustainable methods of disposing of food waste

According to leading green hotel website, "In the UK, food waste represents a cost to the hotel sector of £318 million each year including food procurement, labour, utilities and waste management costs, or £4,000 per tonne"

A very significant amount of money.

WRAP -  the organisation working to deliver policies on waste prevention and resource efficiency, expands this by saying:

The average cost of avoidable food waste to business is £0.52 per meal.

Estimated annual statistics show that UK Hotels:

  • serve 8% of all meals eaten out in the UK each year, equivalent to
  • 611 million meals;
  • produce 289,700 tonnes of waste each year in the UK, including 79,000 tonnes of food waste; and
  • produce 9% of the total food waste across the Hospitality and Food

They also state that recycling rates of food waste in UK hotels are estimated at 43%.  ACM is achieving significantly higher rates of recycling in the hotels - both independent such as Nailcote Hall Hotel and hotel chains such as MacDonald Hotels, Marriott and Radisson Blu

There are many issues surrounding food waste disposal in Hotels, such as:

  • Cost to hotel

  • Cost to environment

  • Moral issues surrounding the throwing away of food

  • Rotting food created methane - greenhouse gas

Where Hotel food waste comes from?

  • Out of date food

  • Peelings and trimmings

  • Inedible by-products e.g. bones, coffee grounds

  • Plate waste

  • Kitchen error

How can you improve your Hotel waste disposal systems?

  • Most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to treat and dispose of waste is to prevent waste or surplus in first place

  • Monitor and measure food waste

  • Work out how much food waste you are producing each year

How to dispose of food waste?

Engaging a waste management company such as ACM can remove the headache of disposing of your hotel food waste.

We can arrange collection of your food waste as well as its ‘recovery’ into heat, fuel and electricity.  If appropriate your food waste could be taken to food banks to help feed those who find themselves in a situation where they cannot buy food.  Hotel food waste can also be composted and used as a fertiliser or indeed turned into animal feed.  There are a huge variety of options available - all of which avoid landfill and the associated negative environmental impact and high costs that carries.  Indeed Nailcote Hall Hotel have installed a Bio2Fuel system and their food waste is now used to heat their swimming pool - see more here.


  • Educate staff and implement measures to firstly reduce the amount of food waste you generate
  • Use a reputable waste management company with expertise in food waste to help you devise a sustainable strategy for your hotel waste disposal
  • Look at all the options available to you such as food collections for food banks, recovery, composting and waste to energy

Read more about ACM's Hotel waste management expertise here.



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