Plastic pollution takes hundreds of years to break down and inflicts serious damage to our oceans, rivers and land. It is also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, from the production and manufacture of the plastic itself to the way it is disposed. Hotels have commonly used single-use plastic items within their operations, with the industry said to use an estimated 150 million tonnes of single-use plastic every year. Straws, water bottles, plastic bags, bin liners and cling film are some of the top plastic pollutants, but there are simple steps that can be taken to drastically reduce these, including:
- Swap single-use plastic water bottles for bottles made from recycled glass.
- Remove individual soaps and shampoo bottles and replace with larger, refillable, recyclable dispensers.
- Consider in-room hospitality trays and switch to products without single-use plastics.
- Buy your products in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging produced.
Understanding the sustainability impacts of the goods and services you purchase is a key part of managing the direct environmental and social impacts of your hotel. Developing responsible purchasing practices could also influence the behaviour of your suppliers, helping to shape a more sustainable way of life for all. An approach to responsible purchasing can include:
- Only use products with higher standards of environmental and social impact, purchasing products with less environmental impact in their manufacture, use and disposal.
- Buy products in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging and the energy used for deliveries.
- Source products and services locally where possible. Not only will this support the local community, it will also decreases the distance your order needs to travel, lowering transportation-related carbon emissions.
- Give preference to responsible products with less packaging.
- Pay your suppliers fairly and promote their businesses to your guests.
- Ensure that all suppliers adhere to safe and ethical working practices.
Introducing energy-efficient measures at your hotel will not only reduce the carbon footprint of your properties, but it could also support you to save money on energy and water bills. There are a range of measures that hotels can introduce – from small and simple changes to longer term installations to the property.
- Consider your waste management processes, prioritising a reduction by buying in bulk and sourcing items with less packaging.
- Purchase items with recyclable packaging and partner with recycling organisations who can support you with those hard to recycle waste items.
- Evaluate bathroom, laundry service, landscaping and pool water consumption to identify any reduction strategies. Consider introducing low-flow showerheads, toilets or faucets and educate staff and guests on sustainable water practices.
- Upgrade to smart technologies such as LED lights, light dimmers and smart thermostats, or introduce lighting motion sensors. Cover pools and saunas to diminish heat loss and consider upgrading to renewable energy or installation of solar panels.
Your guests are the main consumers of water, energy and resources at your hotel, so it is important to bring them on the journey. By communicating your aims to guests, encouraging them to take part and involving them in your efforts, you have a better chance to reach your sustainability goals.
- Encourage your guests to support your aim to reduce hotel laundry usage, with options to reuse linen and towels during stays, or request reduced cleaning of their room.
- Adapt menus and include increased vegetarian and vegan options, with information provided on the carbon footprint of their meal.
- Provide waste separation facilities and information throughout your hotel to encourage guests to recycle.
- Provide opportunities for your guests to support your hotel’s chosen good causes, by providing goods, donations or even volunteering.
Community engagement is one of the most important aspects of sustainability in the travel industry. There are fantastic opportunities for the hospitality industry to give back and play an active role in the communities in which they work. Activities can include:
- Support local and/or appropriate causes through fundraising or volunteering for chosen charities.
- Provide inclusive work experience opportunities within your local communities and establish ethical recruitment practices and policies.
- Offer guests the opportunity to donate goods or monies to local causes.
- Support local suppliers and create partnerships to source food and in-room supplies.
- Partner with local groups or schools and get them involved in any sustainability initiatives at your hotel, such as getting them to take part in vegetable or herb garden planting.
Share your initiatives
Our sports, music and media clients are striving to reduce the negative impacts of their travel programmes. We’re always keen to hear about the sustainability efforts taken by hotels and accommodation suppliers, which helps us to match your properties with our clients’ requirements.
With ISO 20121:2012 Sustainable Event Management certification, we can also support our hotel and accommodation partners with the action needed to win business. Get in touch to discuss with our team.