As a hotel, becoming eco-friendly has never been more important. In 2022, almost 80% of global travellers surveyed were looking to stay in sustainable accommodation in the year ahead, with green initiatives enticing a whole new generation of hotel stayers. But how can your business keep up?

One way that you’re certain to gain green points is by reducing waste. As a luxury hotel, though, you need to maintain standards while making sustainable changes and cut waste without cutting quality. To help you get started, here are some top tips. 

Switch to Plastic-Free Products

Of course, we can’t talk about eco-friendly hotel amenities without talking about plastic. Fortunately, getting rid of plastic items in your space is perfectly in line with the luxury ethos. 

Guests will be impressed with toiletries in glass containers, adding to the upscale feel of your hotel rooms, and a glass bottle in the fridge is undeniably classier than a plastic one.

Other ways you can quickly assert your eco-friendly status by cutting down on plastic include: choosing biodegradable rubbish bags, stocking rooms with reusable mugs, glasses, and cutlery, opting for compostable coffee and sugar sachets, installing water dispensers around the hotel and providing wooden toothbrushes and plastic-free cotton buds.

When plastic is unavoidable, there are eco-friendly options. The German company Traceless Materials, for example, has created plastic that’s completely biodegradable so that your hotel amenities won’t leave a lasting mark on the planet. 

Cut Down on Paper

Paper accounts for over 25% of all waste in landfills around the world. It’s also one of the easiest products to stop using, with digital tools making a lot of paper documents unnecessary. As a hotel, it’s one of the simplest ways you can go green.

Start by investing in a card machine that enables digital receipts, quickly cutting down on the chemical-heavy paper you usually hand out to guests. You can also take down guest information digitally instead of on paper and use electronic signatures to sign for security deposits. 

In terms of the quality of your stay, many guests will appreciate the digitisation too, showing that you’re investing in modern. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to get on the cloud. Nearly all of your paper documents can be made, edited, and shared through the cloud, creating an entirely paperless system for a more sustainable hotel.

Switch Up Disposable Room Extras

A lot of luxury hotels offer guests disposable items for a more comfortable stay, including slippers and eye masks. They’re wrapped in plastic, used for the guest’s stay, and then thrown in the bin. In other words, they’re very wasteful. For a hotel that wants to become eco-friendly but not lose its luxury status, you don’t have to ditch these items completely. Instead, choose long-lasting slippers and eye masks made from natural materials that are designed to be machine-washed.

It’s as hygienic as washing your towels or dressing gowns and guests will be far more impressed with a pair of freshly laundered, fluffy slippers waiting for them than a plastic-wrapped pair.

Create an Eco-Friendly Menu

Food waste is a big problem in hotels that have in-room dining and/or a restaurant. But, with some small changes, you can make a big difference to what goes in your bin. To start with, opt for locally sourced, fresh ingredients that are likely to last longer than those shipped from overseas. This will also reduce the carbon footprint of your deliveries for an eco-friendly bonus.

You could offer different portion sizes, too, and add a little explanation of how much food people can expect from each different size. Guests will be able to order based on how hungry they are and cut down on what’s left on their plate at the end of a meal. This idea maintains the personalisation that luxury hotels are known for, putting the needs of your guests first.

When you do have kitchen waste, compost as much as you can. If you’re worried that composting on your hotel grounds wouldn’t suit your aesthetic, there are plenty of alternatives that’ll keep your excess food from the bin. Local gardening communities and allotments often welcome kitchen waste for their composts and some governments have schemes set up to take your waste away with your recycling. Look into options in your area to find one that suits your hotel. 

Look at Your Energy Conservation

Smart devices are definitely in keeping with the luxurious hotel atmosphere and are a sustainable must-have when it comes to reducing wasted electricity. Helping to conserve energy using clever tech, your guests will be better able to control aspects of their room like the brightness of lights and temperature for increased comfort, too.

The Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, has been named the first net-zero carbon emissions hotel in the US. The 165-room hotel, will be fully electric, using solar panels on site to run its lighting, heating, cooling and hot water systems.

Some top uses of smart devices for energy conservation in hotels include: light sensors to turn off lights when a room isn’t in use; dimmer-controlled lights for less energy output; individual room temperature control (especially useful when certain rooms aren’t in use); smart meters to monitor hotel energy usage; smart thermostats that turn heat or A/C on and off using a timer; shower timers that alert users when they’ve been running the water for a long time.

Encourage Guests to Think Sustainably

Adding eco-friendly messaging around your hotel isn’t just a way to reduce waste but also to market your green ethos. In bathrooms, for example, let guests know you’ve installed larger shower rails so that towels can be dried instead of being put out for washing, helping cut down on wasted water.

Add leaflets explaining your eco-friendly switches in the rooms, too, such as the plastic-free toiletries and information on your smart devices. This will be useful for guests and great for branding, helping you create a clear image for your green hotel that your clientele will connect with.

Final Words

Reducing waste in an eco-friendly hotel isn’t just about your mini shampoos ‒ though that is a good place to start. There’s a lot that goes into building a sustainable space, but with growing demand from guests, it’s well worth the effort. Hopefully, these tips have given you plenty of inspiration to make greener choices in your hotel and win over the next generation of global travellers. 


Image: Azri Suratmin, Pexels