How can the hospitality industry go green? That’s the question on many people’s lips, and it is one that is only going to grow in urgency as time goes on. With an environmental emergency looming, eco-friendly hotels are tapping into tourists’ desire to stay in environmentally friendly locations. People are looking for accommodation that is carbon neutral, where they will not leave a large footprint on the world around them and where they can relax without worrying about any negative environmental impact.
What are the first steps a hotel can take along this road? How can a bed & breakfast change its ways? Can guest houses be more environmentally friendly? Here are 6 tips on how the hospitality industry can become more environmentally friendly.
1. Use sustainable cleaning products
This is an easy one to start with. Take a look at what you use to wash bed linen and tableware, for example. Is your detergent eco-friendly? If not, then you are washing hundreds of litres of bleach and other harmful chemicals every month into the water table. Instead of this, try turning to eco-friendly detergents like Ecover. Read more about eco-friendly detergents here.
2. Buy energy from renewable sources
This is another easy option that you can action immediately. By sourcing your gas and electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar, you can ensure you are having no part in the pollution of the planet from coal-powered energy plants. Have a look at green energy supplier options and you might even save money in a change to becoming an environmentally friendly hotel.
3. Think about sustainable food
Palm oil is a versatile substance that can be used for cooking, just like vegetable oil. It has grown in popularity recently in the UK, but at great cost. Palm oil continues to be a major driver of deforestation. In order to plant palm trees, rainforests are razed to the ground and replaced by hundreds of acres of monoculture. Animals like the orangutang and Sumatran rhino are destroyed or lose their homes.
You don’t need to give up palm oil in your hotel kitchen completely. Instead, make sure you buy and use products marked with RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil . this will ensure you know where it is coming from, and isn’t harming the planet’s ecosystem.
4. Reduce printing
Many years ago, the dream of a paperless office seemed to be within touching distance. However nowadays it is easier than ever to quickly print an email or print a PDF for reference.
Instead, think about what you need. If you can note down with a pen and paper all the info you need, that will save paper, ink and electricity. If you just need to print one email, don’t print the entire chain which can result in pages and pages of unwanted email threads being printed.
5. Off-set guests’ carbon footprint
Whether your visitors are coming from the next city over or half-way across the world, they will in some way leave a carbon footprint. This is the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere as a result of their journey and stay. This can be exhaust fumes from cars or airplanes. It can even be from staying in a hotel room that has hungry electrical appliances like a hot tub.
So in order to help guests keep their carbon footprint under control, consider offering them the chance to offset it when they stay with you. This can be done by, for example, planting trees. By charging guests an optional extra, this money can go to charities who will plant trees, offsetting their carbon dioxide emissions.
6. Help your staff travel sustainably
Your own staff can also leave a carbon footprint in their commute to and from work. Is there a way you can encourage them to come to work more sustainably? This could be through offering employee benefits like subsidised travel on public transport or loans to buy bikes.
Eco-friendly hotels didn’t pop up overnight, so if you are looking to become more environmentally friendly, the time to start changing is now. Changes can be easy to begin with, but have a long-lasting and measurable impact. If change interests you, then have a look at how technology is improving the hospitality industry. Green means go!