Why is waste important to us?
With general waste (i.e. all the waste that cannot be recycled) accounting for almost 20% of our emissions, we are eager to reduce this in order to reach our net zero targets.
We also want to raise awareness and get the message out to everybody that attends the venue that they have a role to play in ensuring that every event is run as sustainably as possible. Hopefully they will then be more mindful when they go to other venues too.
Getting the facilities in place
This sounds obvious but it is worth considering what type of waste facilities you have on site, ensuring that you have the right bins, clear and easy access to them and that on the ground it is very clear what needs to go where.
Signage is key
From the moment guests arrive on site they are potentially throwing away cans, wrappers, tissues etc.. so you need to ensure you have a range of bins easily accessible with clear signage so that they can throw their waste in the right bin without even having to think about it. We have installed a general waste and mixed recycling bin in the car park and in the venue grounds, as well as in the bedrooms.
All the bins are all clearly marked and they don’t have to be an eye sore, Helen one of our managers had some vinyl made in a nice font and stuck them on the bins to make them “prettier”!
For the venue staff:
Again, we need to make sure that recycling is as easy as possible for everyone on site who is working in a very busy environment.
We have behind the bar and in the kitchens a list on display of what item goes into what bin as well as a list on each bin itself.
We even have signs IN the bin with reminders for staff of what goes where!
It is also worth thinking ahead about those really frantic periods during the day where standards could slip or where it’s quicker to put an item you’re not sure about in the wrong bin. To counter that one of our coordinators suggested having a sort of “odd socks box” to put in items they are unsure of and then sort / ask about when they are less busy. We then monitor the use of the box to see the team’s progress.
Different types of waste:
We have the following recycling facilities on site, and these will be relevant to all venues:
- Cardboard & paper
- Mixed recycling (tins, packaging, Tetrapak)
- General waste (for everything that cannot be recycled). This is what you need to be really hot on, to keep your emissions down as much as possible.
- On-site compost for all our food waste for all peelings and compostable waste. We have a specific compartment for citrus waste from the bar, that needs to be separated from other compost so that it can then be used as compost (we are hoping to upgrade to an industrial one soon which would enable us to put all food scraps from catering waste into it, and produce compost for the ground within a few months).
- Our on-site chickens eat practically all the waste from the breakfast the day after the wedding (funnily enough they like scrambled eggs)!
Selecting a good waste company
We’ve all heard of stories where the recycling company don’t actually recycle properly and send a lot of waste to landfill, so it is really important to choose your waste provider carefully. Legally you are responsible for your waste so you should be checking this anyway. We use Veolia who have very strong environmental practices and our general waste is partly incinerated and used to produce energy. Whilst this is clearly much better than being dumped into a landfill site, let’s remember that it is still better to produce as little waste as possible in the first place!
Monitoring on the ground
Within a few weeks of the wedding season kicking off, we became aware that there was a gap between our “plan” and what was happening on the ground, so we quickly had to take action to ensure that every single person that come to site was made aware of our policy. Some of the things we have put in place are:
- Recycling induction sheet to be signed: for all staff on site, to include venue, cleaning and catering staff
- Waste tally system: Tally waste system in place for our emissions targets and to track waste during the season for venue staff, caterers, and cleaners.
- Spot checks
- Competitions and prizes: yes we even try to make recycling fun (!) and by doing competitions with the management team and the bar staff to ensure on the ground compliance, everyone is hot on it!
- Feedback: of course, they best way to keep improving is to have a clear feedback process to see and discuss what is happening on the ground and be quick to react. For example, after our first wedding we found a black sack of florist waste in the general waste. A lot of it could have been sorted and put on the compost, so we now have a specific bin for florists to put all their foliage and stems into.
Thank you to Fleur and the Hayne House team for putting together this useful, informative case study. We hope you found it useful.