Managing Solid Waste in Small Welsh Hotels in an Environmentally Responsible Way
University of Wales
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On aggregate, small hotels constitute a significant solid waste management (SWM) problem undertaking landfill as a main waste disposal strategy for hotel waste. This not only adds to the degradation of the environment but also imposes a significant cost over the business in terms of production and disposal of the waste. However, analysis of the literature revealed that the issue of SWM in the context of the small hotel sector had been paid little attention by academics. This research intends specifically to identify the challenges of adopting sustainable SWM practices in small hotels and provide potential solutions. A conceptual framework was evolved to guide this study. It merges Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) with SWM best practices to understand hoteliers’ attitudes and the obstacles of implementing sustainable SWM options. A phenomenological perspective was adopted to investigate SWM issues in two different case studies of small hotels in Wales using: semi-structured interviews, direct observation and document analysis. First, a case study of non-Green Dragon Environmental Standard (GDES) small hotels in a Welsh local authority was developed. The findings revealed that most non-GDES hoteliers highly prioritized landfill and felt negatively about the implementation of sustainable SWM options with the exception of recycling. There is also a perceived range of behavioural constraints, among these: lack of awareness; lack of recycling and composting facilities; poor manufacturers’ production and packaging strategies; lack of space, time and cost issues. A part of this case study, the potential role of public and private waste sectors was examined through undertaking semi-structured interviews with the executive of both sectors. The results identified limitations of SWM operations undertaken by both sectors. Second, a case study of small hotels committed to GDES in Wales was designed. Most GDES hoteliers held positive attitudes and implemented sustainable SWM options. In comparison, non-GDES hoteliers had no intention of managing their solid waste effectively, even after the recycling service was made available to them by the local authority – an issue which necessitates government intervention. A cross-case analysis was undertaken identifying seven means of motivations to influence hoteliers’ behavioural intentions in relation to SWM: providing recycling and composting facilities; providing awareness and education; enhancing the economic motivation; encouraging the social motivation; boosting the marketing motivation; enacting legislative pressure; building networks between small hotels. A major contribution of this study is related to the development of a best practice model for the public sector to encourage better SWM practices in small hotels, along with an input/output process model to support/oblige public and private waste sectors to apply sustainable SWM practices and work more closely with small hotels. Also, the study had verified that the model of TPB with its main components (Attitude, Subjective Norm and Perceived Behavioural Control (PBC)) was not adequate to explain the attitude/behaviour relationship.
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