When hotels decide it’s time for a change, it means there are lots of old items, much of it big and bulky, that they need to get rid of. We’re talking beds, dressers, nightstands, tables, chairs, lamps, etc. from hundreds of rooms. Or maybe pots, pans, plates and/or silverware from a huge hotel kitchen. What do they do with it all?
Well, it depends…
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, there are nearly five million hotel rooms in the U.S., and most have their mattresses and couches updated every 6-8 years. Headboards and dressers are replaced every 12 or 13 years.
Years ago, hotels would just dump all the stuff at a local landfill and it would sit there until the end of time. Besides not the norm anymore, it’s also looked down upon. So they’ve had to come up with other ways to get rid of the stuff.
Liquidation companies are ready, willing and able to take all the stuff off the hotel’s hands, for a price. These companies might sell a lot of the stuff on site (i.e. if a hotel is closing or relocating), or, more often, they may cart it all off to sell somewhere else, like a warehouse or online. Some examples of the latter are Hotel Surplus Outlet in Van Nuys, CA, Hotel Sales And Surplus in Memphis, TN, Hotel Content Liquidators in Chamblee, GA, and Hotel Liquidation Warehouse in Largo-Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Casselberry and Holiday, FL. Richrooms.com has a coast-to-coast inventory of used hotel furniture.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and there are plenty of charities out there that need furniture to help those who don’t have such things. Travel & Leisure reported about such a donation by Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa a couple of years ago: after a remodel, “…they gave holdover furniture to local charities. They donated over 300 beds, 285 sofas and chairs, and 500 floor and table lamps to people living without them.”
Good360 is a nonprofit “online product donation marketplace” that connects corporate donations with charities that need them. Many hotels have donated to Habitat for Humanity. And other hotels donate to more local charities such as churches, homeless shelters food pantries, etc.
Old mattresses are nearly 100% recyclable. For example, wool batting can be used as a weed barrier, foam mattresses can be used as foam padding for carpeting and springs in spring mattresses can be baled so the chips are repurposed into tools, construction materials and car parts. This website explains what parts of the mattresses can be recycled and in what ways. Hotel carpeting can be turned into, among other things, animal bedding, mulch, carpet padding, and oil spill cloth. Some hotel chains such as Hilton and Fairmont have their own recycling programs; others work with local recyclers so their old stuff doesn’t wind up in a landfill.
We’re at a time in history where there’s more awareness to protect the planet and that just throwing items away if we don’t want them anymore is discouraged. I’m glad there are so many programs out there so hotels don’t have to.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary