How hotels can be more environmentally friendly

A hotel typically uses a lot of energy and produces a lot of waste. At maximum occupancy, every room contains at least 1-2 people using electrical appliances, consuming toiletries and throwing their rubbish in the bin.

This all adds up to big footprints on issues including carbon emissions, water consumption, electricity use and harmful chemicals used to clean guests’ rooms and launder the linen.

In this article we’ll look at this in more detail and consider some of the ways how hotels can be more environmentally friendly now and in the future.

How are hotels impacting the environment?

According to Wrap, the hospitality sector (including foodservice) generated nearly 2.9 million tonnes of waste food, non-food and packaging in the UK in 2011.

Even a decade ago, 62% of packaging and non-food waste was recycled, with glass and cardboard most likely to find their way into a recycling bin.

Just 12% of food waste was recycled, with the equivalent of one in six of all meals served going to waste – making food a particular area of focus for would-be eco hotels.

Are sustainable hotels becoming more popular?

In the decade since Wrap published their report, a lot of work has been done to reduce waste and increase recycling, as well as raise awareness among consumers and tourists.

VisitEngland found that among English customers, 58% prefer hotels with eco-friendly practices and hotels that have won green awards.

Guests are already on-side – and in fact, hotels that don’t display any efforts to become more eco-friendly are at risk of being left behind by this trend towards environmentally friendly hospitality.

How can hotels be more environmentally friendly?

So the environmental and business cases have been made, but how can hotels be more environmentally friendly?

An eco-hotel is a collection of small sustainability commitments, in your fabrics and furnishings, the consumables in your bathrooms, and the way you deal with guests’ waste when they leave.

Recycling bins in guest rooms

Recycling bins are a sensible addition to eco-friendly hotel rooms and mean you don’t have to sort through guests’ rubbish later to look for recyclable materials. You can get smart-looking bins with multiple compartments – just be sure to label them clearly so guests know what to do.

Using eco-friendly products

Eco-friendly hotel toiletries and other ‘green’ products can reduce the harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances you put into your rooms, and are a good step on the road to an eco-friendly hotel bathroom.

Reusing towels

Hotel towels see a lot of use, and must survive an intensive wash cycle on an almost daily basis.

Simply encouraging guests to reuse towels rather than providing freshly laundered towels every day can have a big impact – according to Statista, 57% of guests follow this policy when a hotel has it in place.

Bamboo towels are also a great option. An increasing number of guests will appreciate towels with bamboo content – as well as the environmental credentials of bamboo, the fibres are generally more absorbent and feel softer than the equivalent weight of cotton.

Source food locally

Locally sourced ingredients reduce the number of ‘carbon miles’ clocked up when putting together your hotel menu.

Food sourced locally is a hit with guests, too. Many people want to try local delicacies whether that’s something fancy like fresh seafood, or a simple locally produced Cornish pasty or Melton Mowbray pork pie.

Promote sustainability throughout

Try to commit to sustainable hospitality throughout all areas of your hotel. Put recycling bins in communal areas (and consider them in guest bedrooms as mentioned above).

Make sure you tell guests about your policies. Put signage next to bins and in bathrooms – don’t assume they’ll sit and read a welcome pack on arrival, but instead put polite notices at the point of use, to encourage eco-friendly behaviour.

Create a garden

Green spaces are naturally beneficial for the environment and a hotel garden gives guests somewhere to relax without requiring any motorised transport to get there.

Statista report 58% of hotel guests prefer to stay local to reduce their environmental impact, so having a pleasant, well kept garden on the premises is an excellent way to service this demand.

Final thoughts

If you have mixed recyclable and non-recyclable hotel waste to get rid of, the first step is to book a waste clearance from a reliable company like Forge Recycling.

We can dispose of just about anything and will recover, reuse and recycle as much as possible from the waste we collect. To find out more, contact Forge Recycling today.