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Westerwood Hotel saves £73,000 proving that preventing food waste is no small potatoes

The Westerwood Hotel was already an energy efficient leader of the field, but our experts spotted how further, substantial reductions in food waste could bring further, substantial rewards
  • saved over £73,000 per annum
  • reduced their waste by a whopping 24 tonnes
  • engaged staff and guests in their journey to zero waste, without compromising on customer care or experience

The Westerwood Hotel and Golf Resort, near Cumbernauld, wanted to build on its existing environmental achievements. So they called us to see what we could do. With our support, the resort is set to realise some astonishing food waste reductions, and financial savings.

Part of the Q Hotels chain, this well-appointed resort, complete with swimming pool, spa, and 18-hole golf course, is a signatory to the Hospitality and Food Service Agreement. This voluntary agreement, supported by all four UK governments, encourages and supports the sector to recycle more and waste less.

Consequently, Westerwood was already working on its carbon footprint. In 2013, it was recycling 70 per cent of its 138 tonnes of waste. Or, in the case of food waste, dispatching it to an anaerobic digestion facility for energy recovery. But Westerwood wanted more. Or less, rather. Which is where we came in.

Food waste prevention

One of our advisors visited the hotel to see what further measures could be taken. Being a hotel, food waste is a big issue. Research indicates that it costs the sector £6,300 per tonne, including labour, energy and consumables. That figure is even more shocking when you consider that 75 per cent of what is thrown away is actually fit to eat.

So food waste is where we began at the Westerwood. As a first step, our advisor suggested that the hotel work to identify where food was being wasted. It could do this by installing separate bins to collect food preparation waste, spoilage, and plate waste. The information gathered would help identify appropriate actions. Actions that any hotel or restaurant might consider in the battle to reduce waste.

First up for the Westerwood was to use a number of core items across the menu. This enables a more popular dish to use up the ingredients bought in for a less popular one. A Dish of the Day can help use up items approaching their use-by date, or those that are in seasonal abundance. Carrying out regular menu reviews is essential to sift out slower-moving, more wasteful choices.

At the preparation stage, less trimming of fish, meat and vegetables makes a difference. These trimmings can then be used in pates, soups and stocks. Offering vegetables with their skins still on retains more of their nutritional value and reduces waste. With these tweaks, Westerwood stood to lose 11.9 tonnes of food waste, and gain £72,000 in savings.

Recycling

To increase recycling, we suggested installing a series of small, clearly labelled bins in guest bedrooms so that guests can segregate waste materials themselves. This would increase recycling rates, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and free up staff time – all contributing to a saving of £918 a year. It would also encourage guests to participate in the hotel's energy efficiency drive.

Buying in bulk containers – and using refillable containers for sauces, condiments, hand/wash soap, cleaning bottles and fizzy drinks – would reduce packaging required. Deploying re-usable packaging, such as collapsible crates or returnable trays, would also help. We estimated that actions like these could cut waste for the Westerwood Hotel by 20 per cent, or 12 tonnes, and save some £206 in waste disposal charges.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our use of resources and the free Resource Efficient Scotland survey has given us plenty of scope to do this,” says Iain Sneddon, Westerwood Hotel's Maintenance Manager who was delighted with our suggestions.

To maintain the drive to zero waste, it’s essential to get staff and guests on board. That means finding creative ways to encourage participation. Hotels might provide a welcome pack for guests outlining where, when and how they can contribute to your environmental vision. Information sent out with booking emails should try to reinforce the message. ‘Switch off' stickers (which we can supply) can encourage guests and staff to flick light switches as they go.

In all, Westerwood stands to shave a further 24 tonnes from reductions they had previously implemented, saving themselves over £73,000 while they're at it.

We can help your business prevent food waste too

If you have a food business, we can help you reduce your waste and costs. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, our service is absolutely free. Call 0808 808 2268 or email foodanddrink@resourceefficientscotland.com

Our support is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

 

 

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