Bernardus LodgAbout Bernardus Lodge

Bernardus Lodge & Spa has over 4,000 square feet of meeting room and banquet space, is adjoined by 5,000 square feet of landscaped acreage and vineyards, and hosts a restaurant and bar as well. The Lodge can also accommodate up to 114 guests per night and has a spa, salon and fitness center. On average, the Marinus restaurant and Wickets Bistro feed 3,500 people per week.

By the numbers

Over the first three months of compost program participation in 2012, Bernardus Lodge significantly reduced waste. Highlights included:

  • Average trash tonnage per month prior to organics diversion was 8.9 tons. Average trash tonnage per month after organics diversion was 4.5 tons. Bernardus cut its waste nearly in half!
  • Trash tonnage decreased by an average of 2.56 tons per month, representing an average 27% decrease per month. Recycling increased by 60%.
  • Since the waste reduction programs started, Bernardus’ trash costs have decreased by half. However, food compost program cost has swallowed these revenues, and waste hauling fees have increased overall. If Bernardus continues to reduce its waste at current levels, it might request compactor pickup once every two months rather than once per month, cutting trash fees to a quarter of their original cost. Food waste hauling fees were also reduced to a quarter of their original cost when Waste Management Inc. expanded the food waste collection route. Bernardus could save approximately $23 per month on waste hauling fees overall, or $276 per year.[1]

Other benefits

  • Other benefits: Bernardus markets its compost program on its menus and website, and has been better prepared to host other sustainable events.

Overcoming challenges 

  • The Lodge’s main goal is to reduce its waste stream without compromising its guest experience. Its first challenges were to replace certain products, such as plastic straws, that could easily contaminate the food scrap stream. The Lodge either purchased compostable products or began buying product in bulk to avoid individual packages.
  • Training staff has been an ongoing challenge. Bernardus has tackled this with consistent reminders for staff to source separate materials and with regular waste reduction trainings for all departments. Although kitchen staff is most directly affected, without the cooperation of all departments, housekeeping staff, for example, may contaminate the food scrap dumpster outside of the restaurant.
  • Bernardus has also struggled to capture organics and keep them free of contamination. By pairing each organics bin with a recycling and a trash bin in all food prep and food scraping areas, Bernardus has managed to capture most organics and keep trash out of the organics bin. For tight areas that do not allow space for three bins or where bins are moved frequently, restaurants can try hanging a small interior bin inside of their organics bin in order to ensure that small trash items are separated.

[1] Calculation done using trash cost high of $668.18 in January compared to trash cost low of $326.98 in July, which means $341.20 in savings. A full compactor picked up once per two-month period is $355.41 total or $177.70 per month. Twenty four yards of food waste picked up in September (3x per week service) is roughly $468. Estimated future trash and food waste fees total $645.70. January trash fees of $668.18 minus $645.70 results in a savings of $22.48.