7 Tips to Make Your Hotel More Eco Friendly
‘Eco friendly’ and ‘Sustainability’ are more than trendy hospitality buzzwords. They are philosophies and green practices that are being implemented in hotels around the world. Adopting eco friendly practices doesn’t mean compromising on style or luxury, but what does this mean?
Hotels are greening their properties in a variety of ways, ranging from LEED certifications to practices such as energy efficient lighting, sustainable construction materials, reduced water and energy usage, and using natural toiletries. Eco friendly hotels are not a passing trend, but a growing lifestyle choice that is increasingly important to today’s environmentally conscious consumers. There are big and small ways that you can make your hotel more sustainable. It is important to remember that every effort counts! Here are five eco friendly tips that you should consider for your hotel. They may seem like small steps, but they can significantly reduce your environmental impact.
1. Recycling programs
About 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Imagine all the solid waste that hotels around the world produce every day, and how they contribute to this waste. One simple way that hotels can be more sustainable is to recycle. Often, hotel rooms and hotel lounges do not have separate recycling bins, which is an easy issue to address. Having attractive recycling bins to handle glass, plastics, cans and paper are important steps to combat waste that is harmful for the environment. Consider placing easily identifiable recycling bins around the property and in guests’ rooms. Make sure that your staff is fully engaged in the recycling program. Don’t stop just there, but consider the work of Clean the World, a non profit organization that recycles hotel soap bars and toiletries, and redistributes them globally to combat hygiene related illnesses. It is always better to recycle than for more garbage to end in the landfill, and be sure to check with your local state or country’s recycling laws.
We should consider how hotels can minimize food waste, but must also think about what happens to that waste. People rarely think much about what happens to food thrown in the trash. Implementing composting programs at your hotel is a substantial step to using the organic material in more eco friendly manners, while decreasing accumulation of landfill trash. Composting helps reduce your hotel’s environmental impact, and is seen as an innovative and positive waste reduction strategy. Consider a significant food waste recycling program, and use this food waste as fertiliser for local farms. Check to see if there are local farms or composting businesses in your local area that could utilize your organic waste. Check out Ecovim, a business currently working with hotels to help reduce organic food waste.
3. Use natural cleaners and products!
Swapping out conventional cleaning supplies with eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning products is an impactful way to green your hotel. Utilizing these cleaning agents are safer for your employees, guests, and the natural environment. There are a variety of eco-friendly cleaning supplies that hotels can use. Many hotels are using bio-based cleaning products instead of chlorine and petrochemical-based cleaners that are harsh on people’s skin and pollute the planet. Hotels can even create their own labeled organic cleaners. Consider using natural cleaners and detergents without chemical derivatives to help make your hotel more sustainable. Additionally consider using natural and organic toiletries that either have biodegradable or recyclable packaging. Remember that a healthier planet means healthier people!
4. Incorporate more green and local produce!
There are numerous ways to green your hotel property and kitchen. Try to integrate organic, seasonal, locally grown produce and other ingredients when possible. Reach out to local farmers. Fostering closer relationships with local farmers cuts down on carbon emissions associated with transportation. A shift to more sustainable and healthier cuisine is an emerging force, and travelers are interested in experiencing a greater connection to their food and environment. If you have the opportunity, try and grow your own herbs. If you have available outdoor space, consider starting a vegetable garden and using the produce at your hotel restaurant. On site gardens is a growing trend at hotels around the world. Not only do these spaces reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint, it also serves as a lush outdoor greenscape that guests can visit and enjoy. Offering local ingredients brings travelers closer to your local community and culture. If edible gardens are not feasible around the property, consider vertical gardening or even rooftop gardening if you have a suitable space. If edible gardens are not feasible, simply consider incorporating more plants inside your hotel and moren native and biodiverse plants around your hotel. More greenery indoors helps guests relax, and incorporating more plants in your hotel induces a calmer environment.
5. Hotel Plastic Bottled Water Alternatives
Four thousand plastic bottles are consumed every second worldwide. Much of this plastic ends up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a mass of accumulated trash stretching across thousands of ocean miles, wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems. It is very common to see plastic water bottles in our hotel rooms, but there are many other sustainable ways to help hydrate your guests. Alternative plastic water bottle companies such as Boxed Water, Just Water, and Flow have created paper-based alternatives to conventional plastic water packaging, which allow more sustainable water consumption when reusable water bottles are not available. These sustainable brands are integrating environmentally and socially conscious practices, like replanting the forests from which their paper is sourced, using small amounts of plant-based plastics instead of plastic derived from non-renewable petroleum, and donating to water relief foundations. If possible, have reusable water bottles for purchase at the hotel. If the tap water is clean enough to drink, consider Klean Kanteen, Hydroflask, or S’well bottles.
6. Hotel Room Keys
It takes up to 500 years to decompose plastic items in landfills. Plastic is used for a variety of things at hotels- plastic water bottles, straws, plastic garbage bags, plastic laundry bags, hangers, and plastic key cards. It is something that hotel guests use to access their rooms, and quickly dispose of when they leave. The global hotel industry goes through 30 billion plastic key cards every year, which is the equivalent of 150,000 tons of plastic. Plastic key cards are made from PVC (polyvinyl chlorine) based plastic. They add to landfill waste, and contributes to toxic emissions. Hotels are implementing a variety of alternatives and shifting to cards made of more sustainable materials, such as recyclable paper, wood, and bioplastic, which are both more stylish and better for the environment.
7. Decrease Water Usage
Water conservation is important for hotels, as water becomes an ever increasing limited resource. Thirty percent of hotel water use comes from the restroom, largely from the shower. Some hotels use new technology to reduce water usage, such as installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, while some hotels are taking more old-fashioned approaches like 1 Hotels. 1 Hotels is a sustainability philosophy driven hotel that helps guests reduce water usage. Consider using a sand timer in the shower that serves as a reminder to diminish water usage and help modify behavior or take the next step of installing low-flow shower heads. Water conservation is very important to the planet, and can be approached in a myriad of ways!