6 Ways More Hotels are Becoming Eco-Friendly
Sustainability can be practiced in every aspect of our lives, whether it’s in our shopping habits, diet, waste management, hygiene or household maintenance. Even in travel, we can adapt eco-friendly habits that minimize our impact on the world. One of them is staying in a hotel that takes green initiatives. Curious about what they do to make running a property more sustainable? Here are ways that hotels are becoming more eco-friendly.
A large part of a hotel’s impact is its consumption of energy. Focusing on this not only saves the property a lot of money, but it also helps the environment. Energy-saving technologies can be implemented in so many ways, such as:
- Switching all lights to energy-saving bulbs
- Installing skylights to use more natural light during the daytime
- Automatically turning off air-conditioning when rooms are unoccupied
- Using energy-rated appliances in the kitchen and laundry
- Using renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy
Linen Reuse Programs
Washing linens every day uses up a lot of water and energy. Hotels can save on this by encouraging guests to reuse sheets, bedding and towels. This helps housekeeping to cut back on the number of times they have to wash and dry linens that may not really be that dirty anyway. Guests will appreciate a mattress for better sleep, but they’ll admire a hotel better when they see that they’re practicing sustainability, even in the little things such as linens.
Sourcing Materials Locally
Materials to make furniture in a hotel can be sourced locally like at Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, where furnishings in guestrooms are locally fabricated and art is chosen by a local artist-in-residence. This reduces the impact on the environment and helps the local community.
Food is another thing that hotels can source locally. Transporting food from long distances causes massive air pollution. We have forgotten to eat seasonally because all kinds of produce being exported into our local supermarkets.
Eco-friendly hotels are combating this by sourcing their food from local markets. Habitat Suites in Austin, Texas—voted one of the “Top 10 Eco-Friendly Hotels in the World by Expedia in 2019—has its own organic edible fruit and herb gardens. Food that’s sourced locally is much more sustainable since it requires less energy to transport. Travelers will also appreciate this since it brings them closer to the area’s local community and culture.
Say No To Plastic
Plastic is one of the biggest offenders to the environment that should be minimized. Whenever possible, eco-friendly hotels encourage guests not to use plastic. This means offering reusable dishes, silverware, glasses and mugs. Instead of water bottles and snacks at the minibar, guests can use water dispensers available on every floor and dine in the hotel’s restaurant. Straws and single-serve food containers should also be avoided. Hotels can also leave reusable shopping bags in every room to help guests make their shopping trips greener.
Water is another thing that gets wasted a lot at hotels. The good news is that there are many creative ways to save water. This includes using low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads; installing toilet tank fill diverters to save water per flush; using low-water laundry machines; and harvesting rainwater to use for cleaning floors and watering plants. Doing even just one of these steps makes a big difference in water consumption.
Composting and Waste Management
Composting is an important part of living sustainably. We produce a lot of waste, most of which does not biodegrade properly because it is mixed in with other non-compostable items. Eco-friendly hotels compost their waste whenever possible. They train their staff to separate trash properly and utilize content from compost bins for landscaping. Hotels also add recycling bins in every room, giving guests the ability to separate their trash. Color coding and adding labels makes this easy to do.
As for other waste, housekeeping staff are trained to not use plastic liners but, instead, just wash the trash cans. They should also condense trash into one big bag instead of disposing of every trash bag that only contains a little bit of trash.
Which of these eco-friendly practices have you encountered in real life?Share your thoughts in the comments below.