18th Apr 2007 - 00:00
Question: "We are a small, 40-bedroom hotel and we would like to improve our environmental performance and the way we manage our waste but can we afford to do it?"
Answer: From Barry Bolton, chairman, ACM Waste Management It is vital for all businesses to look at ways of improving their environmental performance because if they don't, the costs in the long term, when we no longer have a sustainable environment, will be far greater. Good waste management practice is one way that businesses can make a positive contribution towards protecting our environment and at the same time benefit from cost savings. This can be achieved through the use of modern waste management equipment such as high-density compactors and balers, which result in a significant reduction in the number of waste collections, reduce landfill and also increase opportunities for recycling materials such as cardboard and plastic. High-density compaction means reduced waste transport costs as well as a reduction in the harmful CO2 emissions associated with vehicle movements, and recycling card and plastics removes them from the general waste stream and makes a positive contribution towards saving valuable energy. Having said that, I understand that many smaller hotels are concerned about the initial investment they may need to make in this kind of waste management equipment, but this does not have to be an issue. For example, increasingly some companies offer their customers a complete waste management solution, which requires no initial outlay but offers a guaranteed saving on their current waste management costs. At ACM, for example, we provide a range of equipment and full servicing and maintenance packages together with co-ordination of all waste transportation, recycling and disposal requirements for a fixed annual charge. This takes the risk factor away and allows businesses to enjoy the benefits of improved environmental performance and reduced costs without worrying about the day-to-day management of their waste. Good environmental performance is not just the right ethical choice: it is also good business. Protecting our environment is actually a fantastic opportunity rather than something that costs money and prevents growth. More and more consumers are looking for businesses, such as hotels, which take their environmental responsibilities seriously, so adopting initiatives such as visible recycling is an excellent way of setting yourselves apart from the competition. Climate change is now firmly at the top of the political agenda, which means that the environment is constantly in the news, so good environmental performance also creates an excellent PR and marketing opportunity. There are a number of environmental standards for businesses, some specifically for the hotel industry, and good waste management practice is one of the key elements that are essential if a hotel wants to achieve any kind of environmental accreditation and be able to publicise and capitalise on its green credentials. So, improving our environmental performance does not have to cost the earth but continuing to run our businesses without making the necessary adjustments definitely will. In conclusion, we must not think that we cannot afford to improve our waste management practices because the fact is, that in the 21st Century, with the threat of irreversible climate change looming ever closer, we can't afford not to. Weblink: www.acmplc.com About the author: Barry Bolton is chairman of ACM Waste Management, a leading provider of complete waste management and environmental solutions for the hotel, catering and hospitality industries in the UK. Barry is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group and is currently working with a group of like-minded businesses to develop a kite mark for companies that will be awarded in recognition of excellent environment practice. Disclaimer: This document reflects the law and practice. It is general in nature, and does not purport in any way to be comprehensive or a substitute for specialist legal advice in individual circumstances.