Nudging as a behavioural change strategy to reduce waste at Hotelschool The Hague


WHAT will be done


Hotelschool The Hague and sustainability

Hotelschool The Hague was founded in 1929, making it one of the oldest independent hotel schools in the world. Since 1929, Hotelschool The Hague has been renowned for its education and innovative research and is ranked among the Top 5 Hospitality Management Schools in the World. The school has two campuses, one in The Hague and one in Amsterdam with over 2600 students and 200 employees.

At Hotelschool The Hague, we educate the hospitality leaders of the future, preparing them to make a difference in the hospitality industry by involving them in the process of purchasing food consciously and tackling food waste and waste in general. This ambition is directly linked to our vision and strategic objectives, in which we contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in this case in particular SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production as the framework to develop concrete action and initiatives.

Description of actions

Hotelschool The Hague will be implementing different and simultaneous waste challenges in order to create awareness about waste reduction, repurposing and recycling, as well as education and communication regarding waste reduction.

Challenge 1: Reduce your use of paper cups

Rationale: In 2018 Hotelschool The Hague changed its plastic cups to recycled paper cups. The school has installed specific disposable bins where students and staff can dispose their cups. The cups then are recycled into carton boxes. However, Hotelschool The Hague has identified two issues with this approach:
1) The paper cups are often not reused by the students and staff (i.e., multiple cups are used for multiple coffees or even as glasses of water)
2) The cups are not always disposed in the designated bins.

The school wants to change this and will take the opportunity of the European Week for Waste Reduction to implement a one-week nudging campaign as an intervention to not only raise awareness but also to change behaviour with regards to reusing the paper cups and disposing them in a correct manner. The overall goal is to reduce the number of cups used and to make sure that they are disposed in the designated bins.

Action: Different nudges (e.g., social norms, social comparison feedback, priming) will be designed and operationalised in different ways:
a) Different posters will be designed and displayed at strategic places around the campus, in particular where the action happens i.e. by the coffee machines;
b) The posters will also be featured on the narrowcasting system with screens across both campuses;
c) The nudges will also be communicated through the school’s intranet system and newsletter, in order to make sure the message of reducing the coffee cup usage is front-of-mind for all students and all staff members;
d) Students ambassadors will be helping staff and students to put their names on the cup to activate identity motives and connection with the cup and the way it is disposed

Challenge 2: Food Waste Challenge – 1 measurement

Rationale: The hospitality industry is responsible for 14% of the global food waste which means that we throw away one out of every six meals. As a thought leader in Food Circularity, Hotelschool The Hague set out to change this. As the result of many years of work, Hotelschool The Hague is now one of the key partners in a national Food Waste Challenge for the food service industry (aka HORECA in the Netherlands), initiated by Rabobank and funded by the foundation “Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling”. There are 175 restaurants are participating in the Food Waste Challenge with the goal to reduce food waste with at least 12.5%. The Food Waste Challenge consists of four major components:
(1) Taking a ‘0-measurement’ which means weighing the current food waste;
(2) Implementing behavioural interventions (i.e., nudges) to help reduce the waste;
(3) Taking a second measurement which is called the ‘1-measurement’;
(4) Comparing the two measurements and evaluate the impact of behavioural change.

Action: During the European Week for Waste Reduction, students will be out visiting the restaurants to take the 1 – measurement and recording the results. Specifically, they will visit 31 restaurants to weight their waste. Those 31 Restaurants are the same restaurants where the 0-measurement was taken in October. The other 144 restaurants measure themselves and send the results to the organising team of the Food Waste Challenge. Before starting with the measurements, the restaurants had been supplied with (organic) garbage bags so the students can weight the food waste using luggage scales.

Challenge 3: PATE – Unlock your creativity and imagine an action to reduce waste

Rationale: Hotelschool The Hague is committed to offer a significant and student-centered learning environment. They deliver a unique combination of theory, practice and research in their education. This combination aims to stimulate students to develop three quotients – IQ, EQ and AQ:

• Foundational knowledge, in-depth understanding of hospitality and critical thinking (IQ);
• Highly developed personal and intercultural skills (EQ) and
• Resilience (AQ).
The school organises Practical And Theoretical Education (P.A.T.E.) assignments, by using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as learning framework. The assignment specifically focuses on 4 of the 17 goals; SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 11(Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production). The P.A.T.E. assignment is an action developed and implemented by the students to tackle real-life societal issues where hospitality can make a difference. The idea is to challenge old assumptions and uncover new possibilities and make a positive disruption that will have a meaningful and significant impact on our student community and society.

Action: In the light of the European Week for Waste Reduction, the students will specifically focus on developing a positive disruption, a catalyst for change focused on waste reduction. During this assignment students will be divided into teams and make a ‘recipe’ for the ‘P.A.T.E.’ assignment:
• Students will be encouraged to base their ‘recipe’ on SDG 12.3. (SDG Target 12.3 – calls for cutting in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains).
• They will really serve their P.A.T.E. with the hope that their positive disruption will have a meaningful and significant impact on our student community and possibly society as a whole.


WHERE it will take place




The Hague
2587 AH

Action Developer

WHO will run the show


Hotelschool The Hague
# Educational Establishment

How can you get in contact:
Email:; tel: T +31 88 028 18 00; Facebook: @HotelschoolTH; Instagram: @hotelschoolthehague;


will it happen?

Dates of the proposed action:

18/11/2019, 19/11/2019, 20/11/2019, 21/11/2019, 22/11/2019


join hands and minds to prevent waste?

Help the world,
share this action!

Related actions