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Wales top hospitality operators with Grant Keenan from Keenan Recycling

New legislation in Wales has top hospitality operators talking net zero

Some of Wales’ top hospitality operators shared insights into their net zero journeys, with a particular focus on the impact of new legislation rolled out in April.

The likes of hotels, restaurants, pubs, and bars have had to separate out their recycling, including food waste of more than 5kg per week, under Welsh Government regulations.

And less than two months on, the Institute of Hospitality hosted an event in Cardiff to discover the impact on organisations.

Keenan Recycling, the UK’s largest food waste recycler, which went from servicing 300 sites in Wales to 1,500 in the first few weeks after the latest regulations came into play, sponsored the seminar at The Parkgate Hotel.

Grant Keenan, co-founder and managing director of Keenan Recycling, chaired a panel discussion.

He said: “It was fascinating to hear directly from those responsible for ensuring the new laws were adhered to and how vital environmental sustainability is to their growth and business success.

“We have increased our collections by five-fold and have been able to support our customers every step of the way, leaning on our experience of Scotland going through the same legislation changes in 2017.

“For us, it’s understanding what’s important to our clients. As well as the logistics of ideal collection location and times, it’s assisting them with their own journey to net zero.

“For example, we fall under Scope 3 data for many organisations, and being able to offer a service that sees the trucks fuelled by the waste they collect is hugely beneficial to users.”

Wales top hospitality operators with Grant Keenan from Keenan Recycling
Wales top hospitality operators with Grant Keenan from Keenan Recycling

The panel included industry professionals who have been involved in implementing the new laws. They offered insight into the challenges faced and the impact of sustainability on the sector.

Lucy Wonnacott, marketing manager at the Port of Milford Haven, said: “Educating our staff and customers was a critical success factor. We have a wide range of commercial tenants, from small retail units to communal office buildings and industrial properties.

“The education piece was a big undertaking, but it ensured the roll out was communicated and managed responsibly.

“Speaking to fellow businesses, while they knew of the regulations, they hadn’t grasped the complexities of the logistical elements of the changes.

“People are definitely on board with separating their recycling. Sustainability means a lot to consumers. It’s part of the decision-making process for buying a product or service, which means brands must be genuine and not greenwash.”

Fitzroy Hutchinson, energy and sustainability manager for The Celtic Collection, which includes the Celtic Manor Resort in its portfolio, said: “We have 1,400 members of staff, and our environmental efforts are central to all activities, as we want to build on the longstanding legacies we have created.

“Adhering to the latest regulations was a challenge with elements including financing the new bins, education of staff and guests, and managing site audits.

“There is a clear interest from our guests and event clients in our environmental credentials. A decade ago, we might answer sustainability questions from event clients in a single page, but now those questions are much more numerous and technically rigorous. We also have a detailed section of sustainability content on our website.”

Another member of the panel was Will Sowerby, content and communications lead at Pact Coffee, a speciality-grade coffee subscription, who said: “Our customers are constantly asking questions regarding all things environmental, social, and governance (ESG).

“That’s where ESG reports and being a B-Corp comes in handy. It’s a clear and obvious signal you genuinely care about your operations beyond price.”

The Institute of Hospitality’s CEO Robert Richardson FIH MI commented: “Environmental issues remain a hot topic for the hospitality industry. Wales has an outstanding reputation for achieving success on ‘green’ outcomes, so it was really appropriate to host our latest Above & Beyond event in Cardiff and tap into that expertise.

“Wales has the best recycling rate in the world, with 65 per cent of waste diverted from landfill. This is an incredible achievement.

“Listening to our panel members today, it’s clear that while there were challenges with the initial rollout of the new laws in Wales, there is passion in ensuring sustainability is at the heart of all operations.”

Keenan Recycling collects food waste from every postcode in Wales, Scotland, and England on its own fleet. It is collected from businesses along with public and private sector organisations and is then transformed into either compost, renewable electricity, gas, heat, or fuel.

Its ever-growing fleet of specialised food waste collection vehicles including hydrogen and HVO, operate across 18 depots, offering private & public sector clients an opportunity to segregate food waste, lower their carbon footprint, and improve their green credentials.

To learn more about recycling options or career opportunities, please visit www.keenanrecycling.co.uk