Michael Hess

Planning for the design and construction of a new hotel involves hundreds, if not thousands, of professional contributors with different specializations. When beginning the hotel design, do not overlook the waste management program. Think of all the waste that a hotel could produce each day. Now imagine if there was no plan set in place to remove that waste. The penthouse would soon be a pigsty and the hotel would not be able to run effectively. To avoid waste pile-up, keep these four tips in mind when it comes to planning the design of a hotel.

Tip #1: Involve the waste hauling service provider in the design process from the beginning

It is important for the architect and design team to have a working relationship with the waste management service provider so that they can provide specialized input for matters such as where to place waste collection bins and other logistics. These providers know how much clearance is needed for a waste removal truck to enter, how much space a correctly sized compactor or baler will take up and other dimensions that are essential to include in the design plans. Vital time and funds can be saved during the design process by involving a waste hauling service provider from the start. If the service provider is excluded from the beginning of the process, design plans may need to be redone if the provider estimates that the space is inadequate for the chosen waste hauling service, wasting time, energy and funding. Involving the provider in the initial hotel design process will ensure that the dimensions are appropriate for the space and the design process can continue to move forward.

Collaborating with a waste management service provider in the beginning of the design phase is also beneficial when it comes to budgeting. The provider will know how much each piece of waste management equipment will cost, how much it will take to maintain that equipment, and the cost of continued services once the hotel is operational. Accurate budgeting and estimating are essential in the planning and design of a building. If funds are allocated incorrectly, there is potential for the entire design and construction process to be derailed.

Tip #2: Have specific waste management and recycling programs in mind during the design phase

Think about waste management for different areas of the hotel. Common areas, guest rooms, restaurants, bars and event spaces will each have different waste management systems in place. For example, restaurants and bars are likely to have a composting system for organic kitchen scraps, as well as a conventional waste container for non-compostable materials. Make sure you have a waste management program that makes sense for each space by anticipating the amount and type of waste that will be produced to select and rightsize the waste management equipment. Specific spaces within the hotel may be subjected to restrictive factors such as odor minimization requirements, limited space and noise reduction. These constraints can be pre-determined and achieved during operations through a customized waste management system designed by your provider.

Tip #3: Don’t overlook the waste management program for waste produced during construction

During the design of a hotel building, most of the focus will be on the waste management program that will be in place once the hotel operations begin. However, it is vital to have a pre-set waste management program in place once construction begins on site to make sure refuse is properly handled and effectively disposed. Construction materials need to be handled differently than day-to-day hotel waste. Excess drywall, dirt, concrete, brick, metal scraps and other materials will need to be stored in large roll-off containers on site and removed by specialized trucks for disposal in a timely manner.

Although roll-off dumpster containers have a large capacity for debris, not all construction waste can be disposed of in the same way. Hazardous waste such as paint, asbestos, flammable tanks and other materials need to have an alternate discarding method. Construction sites accumulate large amounts of waste daily that will cause safety hazards and scheduling delays if not handled properly. Be prepared with dumpster rentals and a waste management service before construction begins. Having a pre-set waste management program will ensure that all materials are disposed of correctly and will mitigate downtime from full roll-off containers or an inadequate waste removal plan.

Tip #4: Consider the level of sustainability desired and set waste management goals accordingly

Another consideration to be taken into account during the design of any hotel is the desired level of sustainability.  Applications may need to be completed early in the design process to obtain certifications depending on pre-determined initiatives. The building and programs may need to meet certain criteria to qualify for desired certifications. There are several options for sustainable building and program certifications. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) focuses on sustainable management as well as the socioeconomic, environmental and cultural impacts tourism may have on the environment. Earth Check reports on environment, quality and risk management performance based on global criteria. EU Ecolabel certification is given to services that have reduced environmental impact when judged against other comparable services. Green Key certification is awarded to businesses that meet to the environmental responsibility and sustainable operation standards set by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Other popular building certifications include LEED, which is assigned based on energy efficiency, building materials, indoor air quality, awareness and education, BREEAM, which is awarded based on environmental criteria, and EDGE, which provides certification based on energy savings.

Work closely with your waste management service provider during the design process to help plan how to efficiently reach your sustainability goals; many certification criteria involve a sustainable waste management system. There are also other factors you need to think about when dealing with local municipalities during the design process such as local electrical, water and sewer services, and any permits that may need to be obtained before the hotel can legally open to the public. Geographical areas as well as municipalities have different waste and recycling protocols and services, so collaborate with a waste management service provider to ensure the right steps are being taken to properly recycle your waste whenever possible.

Working directly with a waste management provider such as Waste Harmonics can help to confirm that all bases are covered when it comes to a new hotel’s waste programs. Don’t overlook the waste management program during the design and planning phase, but rather try to involve the provider as much as possible. Safety, timeliness and efficiency can be achieved with a well-managed waste program and a responsive service provider.

Michael Hess is founder and chief executive officer of Waste Harmonics, a Rochester, New York-based company that provides customized waste and recycling management solutions for businesses across North America. Michael leads Waste Harmonics’ team of waste/recycling, technology, logistics and customer service experts who manage waste and recycling services—which deliver significant costs savings—for single- and multi-location businesses in a wide range of categories, including retail, grocery, restaurant, travel center, logistics, distribution and shipping.  

Prior to founding Waste Harmonics, Hess served as vice president of U.S. operations for Capital Environmental Resource Inc., a solid waste collection and disposal company with $120 million in revenue and operations in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. During his tenure at Capital Environment, Hess served as an integral part of the acquisition, startup and integration of 11 solid-waste companies for more than two and a half years. Michael acquired Waste Harmonics from Capital Environment in 2001 and has since grown the business from a solely Northeastern U.S. focus to serving customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, call 585-924-9640, email [email protected] or visit wasteharmonics.com.

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