26th March 2024

Reducing the amount of waste that your business produces can have a huge environmental impact. It can also reduce costs as disposing of rubbish can be expensive. Visitors and staff want to see that you are actively minimising your waste and that you are helping to signpost them in the right direction too.

There are three steps to waste management and reduction:

  • Measure
  • Commit
  • Act


Carry out a waste audit. You can do this by separating out rubbish into different categories e.g. cardboard, plastic, glass, etc., and weighing it. For larger companies, you may want to hire an external consultant to help you. If you have a waste collection service contractor, they may be able to provide you with useful measurement information.


Once you have an idea about your current waste, you can commit to reductions. Set yourself targets and be transparent about your commitment on your website.


The following tips and information are to help you on your waste reduction journey. You’ll also find a separate, dedicated page here on reducing and managing food waste.

Prevent it!

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not buy it in the first place. This is not always possible of course, but there are some simple steps you can take to avoid and prevent having to deal with excess waste.

    • Avoid buying items that use single use plastic: This can still be tricky to navigate, especially in the hospitality sector. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Plastic food utensils and accompaniments: Avoid plastic cutlery, plates and bowls; plastic straws; plastic stirrers; cling film; plastic sachets of sauces, coffee or sugar. Many of these items will in fact be banned by law in the UK from October 2023.
    • Mini plastic toiletries: If you run an accommodation business, avoid miniature toiletries as much as possible, as well as plastic shower caps, toothbrushes and combs. Consider offering refillable toiletries, using locally made soaps and shampoos.
    • Plastic packaging of food and cleaning products: Adjust the way you purchase wherever possible and use refillable or zero waste products. Buying products in bulk will also reduce the overall packaging and cost. Download the Refill App to find local refill stations near you.
    • Plastic bags: Avoid using plastic bags and encourage your visitors to use reusable shopping bags.
    • Plastic bottles: Encourage guests to refill bottles or offer jugs of water rather than offering or selling plastic bottles of water. Sign up to the Refill App alerting visitors that you offer free water refills – you’ll also receive a sticker to display in your window.
    • Supply chains: Ask suppliers what they are doing to reduce their plastic use.

    If you haven’t already, you should be reducing the amount of paper you use in the office. Eliminate printing wherever possible and avoid printed glossy brochures. Embrace digital marketing!


    Choose textiles made from sustainable fibres and fabrics. These reduce carbon, water and waste footprints and are often longer-lasting and more durable too, helping to save money in the long run.


Reuse it!

Consider reusing items as much as possible.

  • FIX IT

    Do you need to replace an item? Could it last for longer or could it be fixed? Look out for local repair cafes and take your old items along to be mended.


    Consider upcycling – this is where you take an item previously meant for another use and make some adjustments so it can be used differently and given a new lease of life. Creative examples include old butler sinks and wellington boots used as hotel garden planters, old sheets and duvets turned into B&B tablecloths or cushion covers.


    Donate items that you no longer need to local charities or charity shops.

Recycle it!

Once you’ve done all you can to avoid waste, you need to ensure that all remaining rubbish is disposed of in a way that is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Here are some tips to help:


    Ensure you have clearly labelled, colour coded recycling bins, separated out for staff and visitors which are easy to find.


    Find out what can and can’t be recycled by your local district or borough council here. Learn how to better decipher recycling symbols here.


    Can be collected and recycled.


    Some types of plastic such as crisp packets and plastic bread bags cannot be taken for recycling. However, some supermarkets are now able to collect and recycle these.

Dispose of it

The final option is for waste to go to landfill or incineration. Just 52% of Hertfordshire's waste is recycled with the rest going to landfill or incineration. You can find out more about where Hertfordshire's waste goes here.

Net Zero Business Information

Further Information


Read more tips and information on how to become a more sustainable business in our Impacts Resources Hub.

If you’d like to showcase your business's impact on sustainability in Hertfordshire, sign up as one of our Impact Heroes.

If you have taken action to be more sustainable in your business, we’d love to hear more. Please get in touch with enquiries@visitherts.co.uk