After the season many hotels find themselves with a lot of cloth material to replace. What to do with old bedsheets, tablecloths, towels, curtains, pillowcases, and blankets? A good idea is to extend their lives and transform them into something useful, thanks to upcycling. Old fabrics can find new applications, simply by fielding ingenuity and creativity.

Upcycling means recycling giving the final product a higher real or perceived quality. It is an increasingly widespread concept, also in ecological hotels.

The choice of sustainable fabrics is another important trend, which is part of the requirements of various eco-certifications for hotels. But what to do with ecological fabrics when they have fulfilled their function?

Circular Economy and Creative Recycling

fabrics, hotel, sheets, pillow, pillowcase
Photo by Canva PRO

Green economy, of which circular economy is part, is growing at a rate 3 times faster than the traditional one. The circular economy is one of the main goals of the European Union, as it benefits the environment, promotes savings, and contributes to job creation.

EU data show that there is still much to be done in the textile industry. In fact, although the production of fabrics is so widespread and makes large use of raw material and water, nowadays less than 1% of textile materials are recycled. This determines a great impact on the environment: clothing and footwear are responsible for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. They have a higher environmental impact than that of air and sea transport combined.

environmental impact textiles
Infographic by europarl

5 Upcycling Ideas for the Fabrics of your Eco-Hotel

The first eco-tip is to choose quality and organic fabrics.  Also, it is really important to use the textiles as long as possible, providing for their repair.
When fabrics are no longer reusable, they can have new applications, thanks to creative recycling. In the Scandinavian countries, for example, many wholesalers fabric companies for hotels take responsibility for their creative reconversion after use. This sustainable practice is very useful to extend the life of these materials and to reduce waste.

With a little creativity, instead of throwing away used fabrics, you can find new applications that will also allow you to distinguish and differentiate your eco-hotel from the competition.

Apartman Plus soluzioni creative di upcycling con vecchie coperte e lenzuola

Here are 5 eco-friendly and creative solutions to give a second life to sheets and fabrics of your hotel or eco-bnb.

1. A Beautiful DIY Pet House

You can easily transform old sheets into a dog house for your pet. Reuse old and unused blankets and towels to create a soft and cozy retreat where your four-legged friend can relax and sleep.

dog, doghouse, sheets

2. An amazing DIY tent for children

If your eco-BnB is targeted at families and children, you can create a hammock or an Indian tent by reusing old bedsheets. Children will have so much fun!

children, ciurtain with old sheets, upcycling fabrics hotel

3. Use Old Fabrics to Create a Meditation Corner

For a bohemian style of interior design, you can create a beautiful meditation corner with bedsheets, curtains, and blankets.

meditation corner, upcycling fabrics hotel
Photo by Canva PRO

4. Transform Old Blankets into Picnic Sheets

Reuse old blankets of your hotel as outdoor picnic sheets and enjoy sunny fall days with your friends.

pic nic sheets with old blankets and towels
Photo by Canva PRO

5. From Sheets to Cloth Bags, thanks to Upcycling

Reduce the use of plastic bags: create ecological bags with old curtains or sheets and use them every day to buy fruit and vegetables.

cloth bag, upcycling fabrics hotels
Photo by Canva PRO

Are you not a creative person or are you not interested in transforming old fabrics? In this case, you can simply suggest to the tourist board of your area to organize a collection of hotel fabrics, which can be donated to the homeless.

We have to focus on environmental and social sustainability. In this way, with small steps, we can make a big difference!

This article by Ecobnb was published in Croatian in the magazine Apartman Plus n.19 of 2021

Author: Martina Manzotti

Hi! My name is Martina and I live in Pergolese, a small village in Trentino, in the north of Italy. I'm attending the last year of Languages for Tourism and Enterprise at the University of Trento (the main town of my region). During my university career, I've chosen to study English and Spanish. In my free time, I mainly enjoy hiking, listening to music, playing cards, spending some time with my three cats, and keeping updated on the latest news. In addition, I am really interested in issues regarding environmental sustainability and inclusivity.
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