Sustainability 101

Hotel Compliance Inspections: Most Common Violations Revealed

Hotel inspections are up in New York City. Violations are being issued for non-compliance.

That is what we are hearing and seeing, following the expansion of regulations covering recycling and organics in the city.

In some cases, such as with “persistent violators,” ballooning fines have been levied, as in the case of the hotel that was fined $750 for each strawberry top inspectors found discarded in the trash bin instead of the organics bin

The best defense is a great offense.

So Great Forest has been stepping up compliance work, which includes offering more frequent walkthroughs that provide quick feedback to hotels to catch and correct any mistakes.

One of our walkthroughs took place just one day before inspectors visited. As a result, our client came through that inspection with flying colors, and no violations!

To give you some insight, here is a brief breakdown from what we’ve learned from our walkthroughs, and from violations being issued:

Most Common Violations:

  • lack of signage in F&B areas, guest rooms, loading dock/waste room, administrative areas, and public areas.
  • bins with no labels or incorrect labels. To be in compliance, bins must be labeled clarifying accepted material streams.
  • bins with wrong liners
  • contamination of recyclables, which happens when food waste is discarded in the recycling bins by mistake.
  • incorrect placement of bags of recycling in the trash area, and vice versa.

Violations Issued Mostly In Staff Area

Key to note is that the DSNY seems to be heavily focusing on areas that hotels can control, such as staff cafeterias, F&B operations (both front-of-house and back-of-house), administrative offices and waste rooms. This is where most of the violations are being issued for a lack of compliance. They seem to be more understanding of mistakes that happen in guest areas.

So do not neglect non-public areas of your hotel. It is important that your staff is trained so they understand your program and how to recycle and handle organics properly. You may find that you need to organize refresher education sessions or additional staff training to correct any recurring mistakes to avoid fines, which can add up.

Related:

$750 For Each Misplaced Strawberry? How NYC Hotels Can Avoid Ballooning Violations

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