These days, more and more people are looking for ways to live an environment-friendly life. As a matter of fact, this 2019 survey from Forbes states that nearly 77% of people want to live a more sustainable life. This goes to show that local consumers are slowly reaching the realization that the environment needs help.
Since a growing number of people are choosing sustainability, hotels and resorts make every effort to make a significant contribution to lessening their and their customers’ carbon footprint. Even when hunting to find the right mattress or rolling out environmentally-friendly programs geared towards sustainability, the tourism industry has been adapting to eco-friendly trends.
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It is high time for businesses to transform their processes to be geared towards a sustainable future; in this case, hotels. That is because, according to the latest recycling stats, the US is at the top of the list of countries with a worsening waste crisis without growth in recycling. This is why hotels are slowly turning to proper waste management and other green initiatives. However, not all of these initiatives are applicable to every hotel. So, here are a few ways on how you can make your hotel truly eco-friendly:
Start a Green Team
If you are just starting with implementing green initiatives, one of the best ways to start is by creating a team whose sole purpose is to implement these initiatives. You can start by looking at your employees’ files to see which ones have the capacity to take on environmental projects. You can also simply ask them yourself. Ask them if they are willing to participate in researching the best eco-friendly practices to carry out. If none are able to, and you have an abundance of resources, you can always opt to hire professionals for this type of work. Otherwise, you can lead the team, together with a few select staff.
Doing so will bring a sense of importance among your staff in terms of long-term sustainability. On top of that, this would provide your personnel with fresh tasks to help them escape repetition when it comes to what they do daily. However, since this will add more work, never forget to praise your employees from time to time, as well as providing additional incentives.
Take Small Steps
Change is not always an easy process. The same goes for when you are introducing a new set of processes that will replace a year’s worth of methods and procedures. So, when you are just starting out, it is best to start with little adjustments and slowly work your way up. A small change could be adding a water refilling station in your lobby so that guests can refill cups, mugs, bottles, etc., thus reducing the use of plastic bottles.
Another fantastic way to help reduce waste, specifically water waste, is by encouraging guests to reuse their linens, such as towels and bedsheets. Most of the time, when hotel guests are staying for more than one night, they would often ask for new linens daily. However, there is absolutely no need for this, since not a single household changes linens every day. Strongly encourage them to reuse these items by putting up a sign on the towel rack in the bathroom or by adding more racks so that they have more space to hang towels off to dry. It may seem small, but it will save you from constantly using a washing machine and detergent. This not only helps you save water, but it will also lower your utility bills by a lot.
Swapping your lightbulbs to more energy-efficient ones is also a small but smart way of reducing the use of energy. Therefore, lowering your electric bill. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the best options. That is because they only use about 20% to 80% less energy than other bulbs.
There are also interior designers who incorporate shiny countertops or large mirrors to help increase the amount of natural light in a room. According to a new master’s degree in product and interior design, the aim is not only to design comfy, functional spaces but to also bear in mind the environmental economics of products.
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Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Most of the time, cleaning products contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine and petrochemical-based cleaning items, which can be quite harmful to the skin. Aside from that, it is also possible that these can also pollute our water systems when they have washed down the drain. Fortunately, there are a variety of eco-friendly cleaning products that you can purchase from several top brands, such as PUR Home, Mrs. Meyer’s, JR Watkins, ECOS, Common Good, and so much more.
Implementing the use of eco-friendly cleaners can help make your hotel much safer. Not only that, but they can also help in making the environment much more natural for your guests and visitors. This is especially true when you are catering to guests that are environmentally-conscious of the products that businesses use.
Encourage Guests to Segregate Trash / Add Trash Bins
Proper waste management is key to helping the environment. This can start by separating your trash into different bins so that proper waste disposal is met. When it comes to hotels, start by adding two or three bins inside each room and labeling them accordingly. One bin for recycling, the other for composting (food waste), and another for landfill (general waste). This is much more effective than having one bin for everything. Typically these bins are color-coded with black for general waste, blue for mixed recycling, and green for food waste.
In addition to adding these trash bins, eliminate the use of plastic to cover them. This will only add more plastic waste into the environment, as well as encouraging their mass production. Instead, use brown paper bags to cover the bins. However, you can skip a cover all together, and simply wash trash cans after use. Other than that, you can use food waste as compost for your hotel grounds.
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Buy Local and Serve Local
Sourcing your hotel food from a local farmer’s market is a fantastic way to support our farmers, as well as decreasing your carbon footprint. That is because you will eliminate the need for transportation of ingredients from far places, therefore reducing carbon emissions produced by trucks and other petrol-based transportation services. As we know, they are one of the leading contributors to global warming.
On top of that, you can also promote more green dishes, which are not only healthy for the environment, but also for you. Farming livestock is also one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. And, they also contribute to deforestation and soil erosion.
The tourism industry is now attending to the demand for sustainability in most aspects, which is good to see. More and more hotels and resorts are implementing green initiatives that will help in maintaining the environment. For some, it is a challenge, but we believe that with proper knowledge and understanding, it can be done.
Lillian Connors is a Senior Content Developer at ACT-ENVIRO, with years of experience in developing content.
Throughout her career, she always looked for ways to contribute to the environment in recycling efforts, while providing valuable information with her written articles. She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainability not only makes us far less dependent on others regarding how we live and do business but also contributes to our planet being a better place to live on. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book and sip on an occasional appletini.