Great Forest client The Peninsula New York emerged tops in the hotel category of the 2016 NYC Mayor’s Zero Waste Challenge. Within just a few short months, the Peninsula was able double their diversion rate with Great Forest’s help. Here’s how we did it:
1) Evaluate – The team started by conducting a waste audit
“In fact any company interested in pursuing zero waste, or wanting to evaluate their waste programs, should do a waste audit. This provides a detailed account of what is going into your waste and recycling streams and allows you to set benchmarks and goals. With a comprehensive audit, you know where your problems are and how to start fixing them.” — Ross Guberman, CEO of Great Forest.
2) Targeting – The team then formulated a plan that was put into action
“The Peninsula was already doing a good job recycling, so we assisted with simplifying and fine tuning their existing recycling program. But they did not have a system for dealing with organics, and we knew that was what we should target to expand their efforts.” — Maya Shenkman, Great Forest Director of Hotel Services.
There are multiple ways to deal with food waste. Businesses have to choose what works best for them, depending on the type of organics they generate, the space they have, their location, and other variables.
For the Peninsula, Great Forest worked with the team to evaluate the multiple new food waste technologies available, and helped them select the system that was best suited to their location and needs.
This led to the installation of an Orca machine, with staff training to ensure correct use of the new food waste disposal technology, which digests food waste on-site, transforming it into safe, clean waste water that goes down the drain.
3) Education – Training is essential
To ensure the new program worked properly at the hotel, Great Forest conducted educational training sessions, and even met with management and employee unions involved to make sure everyone was on board with the new system. Even the best recycling program or technology cannot guarantee success if there is no buy-in and cooperation from staff.
4) Support – The program was fine-tuned
The team adjusted the hotel’s existing waste and recycling program to accommodate the new food waste technology. They added more bins to collect the organic material, made sure containers were properly lined, and that all bin locations had clear signage and instructions.
5) Monitoring – The team provided continuous support
With the new system in pace, Great Forest performed regular waste audits to help the hotel track the amount of waste and recycling diverted, and provided reports to the Challenge.
“By fine-tuning their existing recycling and waste program and expanding it to include organics, the Peninsula is now ahead of the curve in compliance with New York’s new organics law. And they did it in just a few months… And because they are now sending less material to the landfill, their waste removal cost may be renegotiated down. While this potential savings is a plus, what’s more important is that their new recycling and waste program is now more effective, leading to smoother daily operations.” — Maya Shenkman, Great Forest Director of Hotel Services.