What kind of zero waste!? Restaurants properly dispose of only ten percent of bio-waste

Waste is separated too poorly, and separation is a prerequisite for its proper disposal and removal from the environment. Much less waste is collected in the HoReCa channel than it is created

Zero waste or, in English, absolutely no waste is the direction that environmentally conscious companies strive to follow companies such as the largest hotel company in Croatia Valamar Rivera , which in the new business strategy published last year paid special attention to waste disposal. One of the main twelve ESG goals of that strategy is to increase the rate of waste separation. Almost 50 percent of waste is separated annually in Valamar, which is currently higher than the Croatian and European average.

In addition to adequately separating waste, it also uses composters in which food waste is composted directly at the point of origin. This year, it plans to invest additionally in devices for composting and bio-waste processing. He also invests a lot of money in waste water recycling; intends to keep the intensity of water pumping below 0.55 cubic meters per occupied room and to continue using purified wastewater and optimizing water consumption. One of the goals is to eliminate single-use plastic. This company additionally selects, presses and hands over all types of collected waste to authorized collectors and is currently arranging and equipping a recycling yard for its own needs in Rabac

Responsible management of water and waste, waste separation and reduction in the use of single-use plastics, recycling by reducing waste water and water consumption, Valamar wants to be better than the average at the level of the European Union as part of the calculation per occupied accommodation unit. In it, they also say that they continuously invest in energy efficiency and circular economy, use renewable energy sources and care for biodiversity.

15,400 tons of food waste, or 22 percent of the total biowaste produced, according to data from 2021, is generated annually in the HoReCa channel

Stop of the Jadranka Group, another large tourism company that manages hotels, restaurants, campsites and retail establishments, is that zero waste should not be a pattern, but a goal to which all strive for in the near future. It hands over the collected waste within its facilities to authorized waste collectors.

In order to manage and improve waste management, this company has a certified environmental management system according to the international standard ISO 14001:2015. Several types of waste are generated throughout the group: mixed municipal, bio-waste, paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, waste portable batteries, waste printer toners, waste from the kitchen grease separator, waste from the oil derivatives separator, electrical waste, as well as smaller amounts of other types of waste: animal waste, wood, textiles, metal waste …

When disposing, the company cooperates with the local utility company and authorized companies specializing in the disposal of special types of waste.

One of the companies that disposes of the waste of the largest hotels in the area of ​​Istria and Kvarner is Consultare from Vrbovac whose director and owner Marko List is currently negotiating with potential clients from Dalmatia. According to List, the waste disposal sector, according to data from 2021, annually produces about seventy tons of food waste, of which 22 percent is generated in the HoReCa channel, i.e. 15,400 tons, which is a large amount.

— This waste is fermented anaerobically in biogas plants, and it produces electrical and thermal energy, i.e. digestate, a high-value organic fertilizer. In order for the waste from the HoReCa channel to be used in these facilities, it should be cleaned of impurities such as cutlery, plates, various containers and other types of impurities that are very often found in waste containers due to the negligent actions of employees – says List .

One junk food operating in 10 square meters of space pays only 20 euros per month for garbage collection, and fills two 100-liter waste containers every day

To solve this issue, the Consultare company offers a device on the Croatian market that turns waste into a homogenized and clean raw material that can be used for biogas plants. The waste that is disposed of in this way is 100% used and there are no residues that would pollute the environment.

Help from specialists

In Dalmatia, waste disposal is handled by the company Bio ulja from Šibenik, which cooperates with almost all large hotel houses: Amadria Park, hotels Solaris, Punta Skala, Primošten, Medena, Valamar Hotels Dubrovnik and more than a thousand restaurants,

quickly foods and cafes.

— We collect and send for disposal several types of non-hazardous waste, and considering that we work mostly with hotels and catering facilities, the largest the share in the amount of collected waste refers to biodegradable waste, waste edible oil and packaging waste, i.e. plastic, glass, cardboard, metal packaging and the like. We send waste edible oil for the production of biodiesel, biodegradable waste for anaerobic digestion in biogas plants that produce electricity from this raw material, and we send all types of packaging to authorized companies for recycling – says member of the Bio Oil Board Slađana Bijelić

According to her, the advantage of hiring a waste disposal company is that it greatly facilitates the work of hotels and restaurants that can only take care of some types of waste on their own, and companies like Bio oils are specialized exclusively in the collection and disposal of non-hazardous waste and provide a complete service in accordance with all legal regulations and regulations on waste management, to which they themselves are subject.

— This is precisely the biggest advantage. hotels and restaurants when hiring a waste disposal company, because with one company they deal with all types of waste and achieve high percentages and implementation in waste separation and recycling, which results in the lowest possible share of communal waste – explains Bijelić.

Sad practice

However, for waste disposal companies, poor waste separation makes their work much more difficult. According to the director and owner of Ka-plus from Rijeka Zoran Antić, in the four types of kitchen waste generated in hotels, restaurants, quickly Foods and cafes can find anything and everything because the waste is not properly separated.

— Biodegradable waste and waste in general are best separated by hotels in Istria, northern Croatia, Zagreb and Zagrebačka county, the others don’t try too hard. Some do not even hire companies for waste collection, but throw waste into landfills themselves, breaking the rules. For example, a coffee shop in Rijeka fills four to five bags of biowaste every day, i.e. fruit for juice and coffee, and throws it in a landfill where it rots and stinks instead of hiring a waste disposal company that would forward it to biogas plants for processing and electricity production.

There are six of them in Croatia, and only two are operating at a little more than 50 percent capacity. Restaurants and cafes do not separate waste well, restaurants do so in only 10 percent of cases, and cafes even less – says Antić.

Unlike companies specializing exclusively in the collection and disposal of non-hazardous waste, hotels and restaurants can independently dispose of only certain types of waste

His company collects the waste of several kindergartens in Zagreb and the school in Ogulin, and all the bio-waste it collects is sent to the Moslavina biogas plant, the product from Čazma, which, in order to produce one megawatt of electricity, needs 200 tons of bio-waste. According to Antič, this amount is collected quickly, but it only contains 20 to 30 tons of waste from hotels, restaurants and cafes, and it could be much more.

— Although there is potential , the growth of the waste disposal market is insignificant because waste is inadequately managed. One junk food operating in 10 square meters of space pays only 20 euros per month for garbage removal, and fills two 100-liter waste containers every day. He throws that waste at a mixed waste disposal site, and part of such waste from restaurants and quickly foods ends up with pig farmers, which has been prohibited by law since 2008 – says Antić.

According to him, the benefit of disposing of waste with the help of companies specializing in it is multiple: the waste ends up where it should be and the total cost of disposal is reduced, which is from 0.5 to one percent of income.


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