Hotel Lakeside Dining Room takes on sustainability

The Hotel Lakeside Dining Room is recycling and composting for the first time in its history, part of a new initiative to improve Lakeside’s sustainability efforts. The restaurant is going through major changes this year, including new management, menus and sustainability goals.

Jim Switzer, Lakeside’s Senior V.P. of Municipal Services, explains that, “When Lakeside decided to manage the dining room, we felt it was a good fit and in line with our Board’s directives toward zero waste initiatives to include not only recycling of packaging but also food wastes.”

Switzer added that numerous restaurants within Lakeside already have been making an effort to recycle cardboard and now the Hotel Lakeside Dining Room is becoming a part of the recycling community. The restaurant goes through countless paper menus (a precaution taken due to COVID-19), glass bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes and much more.

Throughout the month of July, the dining room has been measuring the amount of waste produced, an effort that will likely continue into early August. Every day, the Maintenance Crew comes by to pick up the recyclables, and they are taken to the bins by the South Gate. There are many things to consider when taking on the task of recycling, however, it is still one of the most accessible ways to reduce your environmental impact.

The EPA estimates that 75% of American waste stream is recyclable, yet only about 30% of it is recycled. In addition, 20% of landfill waste is food. All over the country, habits must change in order to eliminate these inefficiencies, and Lakeside wants to do its part.

According to the EPA, there are many benefits to recycling, including slowing the depletion of natural resources and saving money during the manufacturing process. However, in order for these efficiencies to reach their full potential, it is important that the recyclables are not contaminated. Contamination can include some plastics/garbage that cannot be processed, or recyclable objects that do not have extra food rinsed off.

To avoid recycling contamination, the Hotel Lakeside Dining Room employees were trained to know the list of recyclable objects provided by Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca Solid Waste Management District (

While recycling is important and has many benefits, there’s still a significant amount of other waste in the Dining Room. Composting offers an opportunity for some of this waste to be disposed of in a way that’s more beneficial and sustainable than a landfill.

Compositing is the process of organic waste being broken down into a nutrient rich soil conditioner. Composting is fairly easy to implement within one household on a smaller scale, however, it becomes more complex within the restaurant industry. In order to avoid pests and save some space, the Hotel lakeside Dining Room has partnered with Barnes Nursery, headquartered in Huron, to pick up the compostable materials every Tuesday and they take care of the composing from there.

Another benefit to working with Barnes (aside from the ease, and the saved space) is the ability for the dining room to compost more materials. Smaller/personal composts are slightly more finicky and often cannot handle meat and most dairy products without generating horrible smells and a pest problem. However, Barnes and its more industrial facilities can handle some of these products that can be intense on other compost bins.

For more information about composting in your home, visit

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