WASHINGTON, D.C.—Hoteliers interested in launching a waste management program or energizing an existing one should consider participating in WasteWise, a free, voluntary program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Any U.S. hotel or hotel company is eligible to participate in the program that allows partners to design their own waste reduction programs tailored to their needs.
Waste reduction makes good business sense because it can save an organization money through reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs. WasteWise provides free technical assistance to help develop, implement and measure waste reduction activities. WasteWise also offers publicity to organizations that are successful in reducing waste through EPA publications, case studies, and national and regional events. These events provide networking opportunities for organizations to share waste reduction ideas and success stories.
“WasteWise events that would benefit a hotel owner are the Partner Forum Teleconferences and the WasteWise Annual Conference,” says Roxanne Smith, a press officer with EPA. “The teleconferences provide information and tips from EPA and other partners about how to create a successful program. The annual conference showcases the award winners and also includes several informational sessions and networking opportunities where partners can learn about EPA programs and waste reduction activities.”
At the WasteWise 2005 Annual Conference, the Walt Disney Co. received a Gold Achievement award for Organic Material Reduction. The company also received a Very Large Business Honorable Mention award for its waste reduction efforts in multiple areas. One example of Disney’s efforts is the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. In 2004, the resort diverted more than 5,600 tons of food scraps from its hotels and restaurants.
The awards application deadline for 2006 already has passed. The date for the 2006 conference has not been set. The location is expected to be in the Washington, D.C. area.
Fifty-one hotels and/or hotel organizations are currently WasteWise partners. A few of them include: Doubletree Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, Portland, Ore.; Best Western Richmond Suites Hotel, Shreveport, La.; Grand Teton Lodge Co., Moran, Wyo.; Green Hotels Assn., Houston; and the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort and Club, Aventura, Fla.
The Application Process
After an organization has applied for WasteWise partnership, it receives a New Partner Packet. In it is a WasteWise Assessment Form. The form helps identify steps one can take to reduce waste. The assessment form, which is due back to WasteWise two months after it is received, also helps one establish a baseline for measuring progress.
Once EPA approves the Assessment Form, it sends the WasteWise logo for internal and external use. In addition, WasteWise has developed a sample press release and newsletter to assist a participant in announcing the commitment to WasteWise. On an ongoing basis, one is asked to report results to WasteWise.
When participants have questions, they can call the EPA’s toll-free Helpline. Staffed by WasteWise information specialists, the WasteWise Helpline can answer both general program questions and specific technical questions on solid waste reduction. Helpline staff have access to an extensive library as well as a compendium containing current information about waste reduction resources nationwide. Specialists also provide assistance with Assessment Form completion and assist with goal setting.
The WasteWise Onsite Visit program enables partners to meet with WasteWise representatives and receive assistance in developing and implementing quantifiable waste reduction programs. Common components of an onsite visit include informal roundtable discussions and facility tours, which enable WasteWise representatives to provide tailored, personal recommendations to partners.
Through electronic reporting, EPA makes it easy for partners to share and receive recognition for their achievements. Partners submit their annual data using an online form on the WasteWise Partner Services Web site. Electronic reporting saves WasteWise partners paper, postage and time. Approximately 85 percent of WasteWise reporters submit their annual data through the Web.
Most of the WasteWise publications are available, for viewing or downloading, on the WasteWise Web site. In addition, the WasteWise eBulletin—an e-mail newsletter sent to WasteWise partners and endorsers—provides up-to-date program news and waste reduction information.
For more information, call the WasteWise help line at 800-EPA-WISE.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.