Save money, save the world

Increasing a property's recycling efforts will enable hotels to avoid damaging the environment and the all important profit margins, as The Fairmount Dubai's eco-champion Alka Patel explains.
Save money, save the world
By Alka Patel
Wed 05 Mar 2008 04:00 AM

It's been known for a long time that recycling makes good business sense. In the hotel industry, we can significantly reduce our waste disposal costs by diverting recycling materials. Additionally recyclables help to ensure an adequate supply of raw materials for manufacturing recycled products.

Recycling has environmental benefits that go beyond conserving landfill capacity. Customer and employee relations also benefit when a company acts on a formal commitment to environmental protection.

When you implement an effective recycling programme you save natural resources, lessen pollution and save money.

When you establish and implement an effective recycling program at your hotel or resort, you not only divert used material from landfill, but you also save natural resources, lessen pollution and save money.

Paper:The Emirates Environmental Group (EGG), a local non-government organisation and the first environmental NGO in the world to be accredited with the ISO 14001:2004 certification is a viable organisation that engages in recycling paper products. Setting up modest sized recycling centres, primarily available to schools, the organisation has also extended its reach to businesses, including ones in the hospitality sector.

Most types of paper, whether office paper, newsprint or cardboard, are recyclable. Recyclers usually ask that paper be sorted and free of contaminates (i.e. tape), and that newspapers and cardboard be flattened and bundled or baled.

Office Paper:where recycling facilities exist, office paper is usually collected in two grades: ‘high-grade' (white copier paper, white office stationary and notepaper) and ‘mixed' (white and coloured paper, file folders, manila envelopes).

Newsprint:is easily collected. In many areas, telephone directories are also collected as newsprint.

Cardboard: is easily separated from other materials; because of its bulk, this can significantly reduce the volume of waste requiring disposal, and thereby coasts. Waxed cardboard is not recyclable. Cardboard can also be reused, which takes less energy than recycling. Return flattened, tied cardboard to the supplier for reuse.

Metal:aluminum and tin/steel cans, aluminum foil and other scrap metals are readily recyclable. Some metals such as copper and aluminum yield a higher market price.

Bottles and glass containers:many buyers require that collected glass be separated by colour (clear, green and brown) before pick-up, although some will accept mixed glass. Broken glass and paper labels may be acceptable. Glass should be clear of contaminates, such as bottle caps, ceramics and light bulbs.

Plastics:plastics must usually be separated by resin type for recycling. The plastic resins most commonly recycled are PET (polyethylene terephthalate), used in soda bottles, and HDPE (high density polyethylene), used in milk jugs. In some areas, there may be buyers for mixed plastics. Mixed plastics can also be used to manufacture items such as plastic park benches, garbage containers and highway barriers.

Kitchen grease:used kitchen grease can be recycled into biodiesel, soaps, lubricants and animal feed. By not dumping it into the drain you have fewer clogged pipes, use fewer toxic chemicals to clear the drains and avoid unnecessary wastewater treatment upsets.

Batteries:virtually all batteries can be recycled. Used batteries contain metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, manganese, dioxide, silver, copper, nickel and zinc. If they find their way into our soil or water, many of these metals pose hazards such as kidney damage and genetic, neurological and psychological disorders. Recycling batteries keeps harmful metals out of landfill and reclaims a valuable resource to be used in other products. Nickel cadmium batteries are also easy to recycle. The recovered cadmium is used to make new batteries, while the nickel and iron are used to make stainless steal products. Rechargeable batteries are also a good idea. While their initial costs are higher than those of disposable ones, the financial savings are tremendous in the long run.

Fluorescent bulbs:the standard fluorescent light bulb, or lamp, contains approximately 20mg of mercury. When a fluorescent lamp is broken, the mercury can evaporate at room temperature. While there are no known health hazards from exposure to lamps that are intact, throwing them away can contaminate the environment. When fluorescent lamps are recycled, all the glass, aluminum and other solid metals can be reclaimed and reused.

Wire clothes hangers:never put wire clothes hangers in the garbage. Many cleaners will accept them from customers. When colleagues come to pick up their clean laundry, have a container ready in staff changing rooms to collect hangers for recycling.

Alka Patel is the public relations manager for The Fairmont Dubai. For more information e-mail:

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