By Divya Vaghela, Beyond Bamboo

In 2018, climate NGO Wrap found that an average of 2 million tonnes of waste was generated by the United Kingdom hospitality industry. Climate change policies and legislative changes, including the recent green claim code announcement, make now the perfect time to switch to sustainable products and services.

From hotel rooms to on-site facilities, these easy swaps are a great way to make a difference in your business and join the sustainability movement:

  1. Rethink Menus

Swap traditional printed room service and restaurant menus for QR codes to save resources, reduce waste, and reduce costs.

When the pandemic flipped the world on its head, printed menus quickly went out of fashion. Print menus require resources for paper, ink, lamination, and binding, and often need to be reprinted if they are damaged, updated with new menu items, or simply out of style. Additionally, in the wake of the pandemic, regular sanitization is also needed for those menus to be used between guests.

These unnecessary steps take resources from the environment and contribute to waste at every level from production to maintenance – all for a product that has a short life cycle. Swapping physical room service menus in exchange for easy to scan and use QR codes will help your hotel save money. It will reduce the need for menu reprints and sanitisation while increasing hotel website traffic as guests scan a link to look at your menu.

  1. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Reduce waste and environmental toxins while saving money and improving indoor air quality by swapping outdated, toxic cleaning products for natural, eco-friendly professional cleaning solutions.

Commercial and professional cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that are costly (financially and environmentally) to produce, harmful to use, and detrimental when washed back into the environment. These products often contain allergens that cause long-term health issues, and many cleaning products negatively impact the guest experience as they worsen air quality. They also hurt the environment and biodiversity when run-off spreads to local ecosystems, particularly water systems, which are then destabilised by the introduction of harmful chemicals like triclosan, phosphates, phthalates, and more. [1]

By using eco-friendly products, run-off from your facility will have low to no toxic chemicals since they are made from natural, biodegradable ingredients with few allergens. Many come in biodegradable packaging making end of life disposal easier too. [2] [3]

Green cleaning products can also be made out of products already found in your hotel. This saves money and allows your hotel to advertise that some cleaning products are made in a closed loop life cycle. For example, using citrus peels and vinegar from an on-site kitchen to make a natural all-purpose cleaner.

Many eco-certified cleaning companies offer professional-grade, eco-friendly cleaning products that can be bought in bulk – allowing additional savings on cost and packaging.

  1. Upgrade Toilets Cheaply

Add a toilet tank bag to existing toilets to save up to 11.4 litres of water after each flush!

Toilets can use up to 14 litres of water per flush wasting valuable freshwater resources and raising your water bill. [4]

While dual flush toilets are rising in popularity, they are often costly, are used incorrectly, are poorly made, and take a long-time to install on a large scale. [5]

Toilet tank bags are an inexpensive retrofitting option that is quick to install and very effective in reducing water consumption in hotel rooms and throughout the facility. Savings can be realized in the short-term and as climate change threatens freshwater accessibility—raising the cost of water—this is a great solution to help use the water we have more thoughtfully.

  1. Shower Product Dispensers

Swap out expensive, wasteful, single-use shower products in guest rooms for refillable dispensers containing environmentally friendly, cruelty-free products.

Individually packaged shower products like mini shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that must be replaced after each guest can become very wasteful and costly. This is especially a problem if a guest only uses a little bit of the product and then throws it out. Another issue is that many eco-friendly vendors will not sell in a single-use size due to the waste associated with the excess plastic packaging, which takes years to degrade, harms ecosystems and fills ever diminishing landfills. Switching to shower product dispensers allows guests to take what they need and avoid waste while remaining sanitary. This easy swap also allows you to have more options when choosing products to include in your hotel, including eco-friendly, cruelty-free, locally made natural shower products available at a lower cost in bulk.

  1. Colour Swaps

Switch from white towels to dark towels for a longer life cycle, better sourcing options, and fewer harsh chemicals entering the environment.

Whether your towels are hired or bought outright, the transition to dark towels will make a huge difference for the environment and your bottom-line. The textile industry is one of the most highly polluting, generating a fifth of the world’s industrial water pollution. [6]

Dark coloured towels are better for the environment since they can be made from post-consumer recycled materials, reclaimed textiles, and scraps, and do not require bleaching, whereas white towels often require virgin resources and bleach to ensure a white finish, and then require large quantities of chemicals to maintain their colour.

Summary

Making the switch to environmentally friendly products and operations often leads to both short- and long-term savings, reduces waste, engages your guests, and boosts efficiency. For example, climate NGO Wrap found that hotels saved $7 for every $1 invested in reducing food waste and 70% had recouped their investment within just one year. [7]

Many suppliers are already stocking kinder options, whether it is for cleaning, personal care, towels or bed linen. And sites like Beyond Bamboo have specific sections for the hospitality sector to help buyers access certified products they can trust. By choosing these few, simple swaps you can make a genuine difference to your guests, your bottom line and to the future of the planet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Divya Vaghela is from Beyond Bamboo, a global community of sustainable products, services and suppliers working as a collective to restore and rejuvenate the planet. With a consumer marketplace, a B2B supplier portal, a knowledge hub and a team of passionate people dedicated to triple bottom line reporting, Beyond Bamboo aims to help us all do well by doing good.

Web: www.beyondbamboo.online

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[1] https://www.aspenclean.com/blogs/sustainable-living/the-environmental-dangers-of-using-cleaning-products

[2] https://puracy.com/blogs/lifestyle/reasons-to-use-natural-cleaning-products

[3] https://www.thespruce.com/reasons-to-start-green-cleaning-today-1706950

[4] https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/tech/water-saving-toilet/

[5] https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-the-wednesday-edition-1.5744950/dual-flush-toilets-are-wasting-more-water-than-they-save-says-u-k-water-utility-1.5743509

[6] https://www.nrdc.org/issues/encourage-textile-manufacturers-reduce-pollution#:~:text=Textile%20mills%20generate%20one%2Dfifth,by%20burning%20coal%20for%20energy

[7] https://wrap.org.uk/resources/business-case-reducing-food-loss-and-waste/hotels