Talking Point: ‘Tis the season to be sustainable

Using LED Christmas lights will reduce your festive energy bill

Using LED Christmas lights will reduce your festive energy bill

Elizabeth Snowball, Consumables Buyer at Beacon says for many hotels sustainable behaviour drops way down the agenda at Christmas, but there are ways to reduce waste and energy use with a little festive care.

The Christmas season can be a testing time for hotel owners - as the Christmas lights go up, so do electricity costs and energy consumption, and hotels are often left with an energy bill that would compare to that of the Blackpool illuminations!

On top of this, food and consumables waste can often prove costly for hoteliers, with the government’s waste reduction advisory body – WRAP - revealing that hoteliers could save an estimated £720 million per year by not throwing away good food.

But there is a twinkly Christmas light at the end of the tunnel and there are plenty of options that businesses can explore, to help keep costs and consumption low over Christmas - without being a Scrooge.

Sustainability is a big part of our behaviour at Beacon. We work very closely with the Responsible Hospitality Partnership which has been offering sustainability advice to hotels since 2010. We’ve drawn on the knowledge of Rebecca Hawkins, founder of the Responsible Hospitality Partnership and expert in sustainability, our in-house team and our suppliers to list the best advice on how to have a sustainable Christmas.

Consider donating leftovers to help combat food waste

WRAP has revealed that the cost of food waste from the hospitality and foodservice sector is predicted to rise to a staggering £3.0 billion by 2016. As we know from our own Christmas dinners, the amount of leftover waste can be huge. With this in mind, it’s good to consider different ways to reduce food waste in your business before and after Christmas. (Check out these suggestions from Green Hotelier’s previous features.)

Christmas is the time for giving, so why not consider donating edible but leftover food to charities? There are an increasing number of charities that will collect unpackaged food; for example buffet food. Plan Zheroes is a great example. They will collect surplus food from your doorstep and deliver it to local charities.

Think about alternative Christmas decorations

On top of food waste, an estimated 660,000 tonnes of ‘non-food’ waste is produced by businesses in the hospitality and foodservice sector per-year.

Flowers can be very costly at this time of year and will often perish quickly, so if you’re planning a festive floral display, why not consider some alternatives? More hoteliers are selecting wheat and rice grass for displays. It lasts for three to four weeks making it far more cost effective than traditional flowers. Mini rooted Christmas trees, as well as bulbs like hyacinths can add Christmas cheer without breaking the bank. Because these alternatives last considerably longer than traditional flowers, the amount of consumables waste will be much less.

Use LED fairy lights instead of a cheaper alternative

Although LED bulbs are slightly more expensive, they inevitably give you a huge saving in the long run. Beacon works with hoteliers to help them reduce costs and consumption by switching to LED lighting bringing savings of up to 70% per year on energy costs. LED fairy lights use considerably less energy, are available in a variety of colours and have an average lifespan of around 20 years. This means you can still achieve a perfectly festive lighting design as part of your Christmas decoration, but ultimately make a huge saving on your energy bill.

If in doubt, use the three Rs!

Reduce, reuse, recycle! There are recycling centres situated across the country for recycling glass, cans, paper, plastic bottles and film, textiles and shoes. Even your Christmas tree can be recycled. Use a tree with roots which can be planted outdoors after Christmas, or take it to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre to be shredded for compost. It’s a good idea to check with your local authority; some will collect your Christmas tree from your doorstep. Beacon supplier Managed Waste Solutions can offer a range of advice on waste management and recycling.

Beacon can help with a variety of sustainability issues. For more information on Beacon visit their website and follow them on Twitter.



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