Tourism is one of the industries with the major growth potential, accordingly to what was established by the European Commission. Since this industry is that important, is necessary that it evolves and it becomes sustainable as much as possible. Declining this concept into the hotel industry our mind goes immediately to the huge amount of towels and bed sheets that are used and washed every day, consuming water and energy. Or to the food that goes wasted because who picked it up from the buffet is full. We can also think of the enormous amount of paper that is used during the long bureaucratic process of check-in. Or even more to the free toiletries that are brought home by the guests but get forgotten in some cabinet.

Managing these issues in an accommodation facility means increasing the competitiveness and the reputation of the firm. This can also bring to strategic innovations. Reducing waste in an accommodation facility is an opportunity that can make a difference in the complicated nowadays context. Consumers are more and more aware of environmental issues. Being a role model facility in this field can make a difference when a person has to choose where to stay. Finally, a lot of these actions, which can be easily implemented by every hotel, can help in saving money.

If you are curious to discover which actions you can adopt in your accommodation facility to make it more green, sustainable and competitive, keep on reading this article.

Which are the green actions to reduce waste in your hotel?

Disposable cutlery
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Let’s start defining which are the goals of these actions and what we want to obtain from their implementation. These actions consist in reducing the scratch the disposable items during the guests’ stay. Let’s think about free toiletries in the bathroom, or about the towels that are used just once before being washed or plastic bottles inside the minibar.

One of the purposes is also to increase awareness among the clients about waste reduction. When people are vacating they tend to behave differently from what they usually do. One example could be that someone who sorts the waste in his home city or home country, doesn’t do the same in another place, maybe because this person doesn’t know the correct policies about waste management. Informing the guests about the correct waste management could make a difference. For example, in the room instead of putting one trash bin, you could put a trash bin divided into different compartments.

A third goal is the one about creating a culture of sustainability in the hotel and among the clients. You should tell your staff and your clients that you are implementing these actions and also why, you should also explain the benefits that come from the applications of such actions.

Finally, for what concerns the last goal, you should encourage your clients to take part in these initiatives using an app for smartphones, to reduce the usage of paper. Furthermore, you should push them to grab from the hotel’s buffet just the food they are going to eat, to avoid food waste.

How to reduce waste in your hotel with good green actions?

Green actions
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Now let’s see what these actions are about and how they can be implemented in an accommodation facility. Let’s remember that the general goal is to reduce the total amount of waste produced.

Say no to disposable items

The first goal regards the decrease of disposable items during the stay. You can think about giving your clients reusable glasses and refill containers with soap and shampoo. The use of elegant glass glasses or elegant dispensers, gives your hotel a more posh look, instead of using plastic glasses and low-quality free toiletries. This will bring also a reduction in costs.

Raise awareness

To increase awareness among the clients about waste reduction, you can inform your clients about the new hotel policies through posters and flyers. Even better through a QR code, to avoid the waste of paper. Moreover, instead of giving the clients amounts of tourist flyers that they will read once before throwing them away, you can think about installing some panels or boards with QR codes that the guests can read.

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Diffuse a sustainability culture

For what regards the goal of diffusing a sustainability culture in the hotel and among clients, the best method is to inform them and be a role model in doing these actions.

No to paper and food waste 

Finally, for what regards the goal of encouraging clients to use an app for check-ins and to consume consciously the hotel’s buffet, we can say that the adoption of these actions will also make the processes easier, quicker and less stressful for the staff and clients. An app for doing the check-in will bring less usage of paper, furthermore, the procedure will be faster.

For what concerns food waste, we can say that clients should be able to choose among portions of different sizes and the kitchen should try to cook meals with leftovers. For example, if you have some boiled veggies from the previous dinner, the day after you can make an omelette with those veggies! If the food can’t be consumed for some reason but is still perfectly edible, instead of throwing it away you should make agreements with some social organizations you can donate the excess food.

How to communicate these green actions to your guests?

You should also communicate these actions, to spread a sustainability culture among the staff and clients, and also to raise awareness about waste reduction. You can do that:

  • Installing a panel to show the best practice in waste reduction prevention. In this panel, you should include a list of all the commitments you have adopted to prevent waste. These could be encouraging for the staff to keep on with their work. The panel should be located in a place that is very well visible. To value the efficiency of the panel you can value it in the number of goals reached;
  • Using a sticker to inform clients that the hotel is implementing actions to reduce waste. These stickers should be placed in a trafficked spot. 

How to prepare the facility for the implementation of these green actions

Informing clients
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A month before the implementation of these initiatives you should:

  • Organize an audit to keep track of data that will reveal if these actions are bringing the desired effect these data regarding:
    • the total amount of waste in the rooms;
    • the total amount of paper used for the check-in;
    • the total amount of food waste in the restaurant.

By keeping track of these data you can see if your facility is improving over time. You should also find a spot to place the QR code and the panel with the commitments and goals;

  • Communicate the adoption of these green actions to the clients, staff and suppliers.

If reading this article has made you already think about which green actions you could implement in your facility, don’t wait anymore and start the change now! In the long period, you will benefit from it for sure.

Author: Beatrice Maffei

Hi! My name is Beatrice and I am a student, attending the course Sustainability and Tourism Management at the University of Trento. I like travelling and discovering new places, trying to behave like a local, and immerging myself in the native traditions and culture. I love nature and I like doing long walks and hikes with friends and family. During my studies, I lived for a while in Spain and Finland.
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