How to be an eco-friendly hotel guest

Is it possible to travel and yet contribute positively to the environment? Source: Shutterstock.

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL has surpassed being just another buzz term and weaved its way to the forefront of the travel industry.

Earlier this year, hotel giant Hilton announced it will be cutting its environmental footprint in half by 2030. It aims to do this by increasing recycling efforts, reducing water wastage, eliminating single-use plastics, and working more closely with minority-owned suppliers.

Hilton made this decision based on a survey in which 33 percent of the 72,000 travelers asked said they actively seek information about a hotel’s suitability policy before booking.

It’s no secret traveling has a harmful impact on the environment, so those that are privileged enough to see the world should be thinking about how they can sew in sustainable practices to their jet-setting.

The partnership between eco-conscious travelers and hotels is a driving force in reducing the impact the travel and hospitality industries have on the environment. There are plenty that can be done by both parties, especially when staying in luxury accommodation.

Luxury hotels and resorts are on average more carbon-intensive due to the level of service and facilities they provide their guests.

Some of the world’s most exclusive resorts offer all these facilities and more, which can very quickly add up to a large carbon footprint for both the resort and the guest.

But there are plenty of ways to do reduce your carbon footprint and none of the methods will impact the luxuriousness of your stay. Take a look at what you can do on your next hotel stay to make a difference.

Reusing towels and linen

Laundry accounts for 15 percent of a hotel’s water usage and can be incredibly energy intensive, particularly if towels and linen are being washed every day.

By reusing a towel and opting to only have bed linen changed once a week, you reduce water wastage and prolong the life of the materials as frequent washing causes them to spoil quicker.

Source: Shutterstock.

Have a quick shower

Contrary to what most people would assume, a hotel’s main drain on resources are bathrooms which account for 30 percent of a hotel’s water use.

Swimming pools only use up one percent and landscaping sprinklers and other watering devices account for 14 percent of water use.

So, by limiting your shower time and avoiding baths altogether you can really help the planet.

Ditching disposables

Stories of how single-use plastics are damaging the environment made rounds in international news in 2018.

Many bars and restaurants around the world have scrapped plastic straws for sustainable alternatives instead.

But for hotels, the issue of single-use plastic comes in the form of mini toiletries that everyone seems to love. More often than not, they’re only half used then thrown away.

If you just can’t resist the pull of mini toiletries, be sure to use all the contents or take the leftovers home so you can recycle the bottle later.

Source: Shutterstock.

Don’t be a glutton

A hotel buffet is one of the best parts of a vacation.

Instead of just having one meal, you can have three, plus an appetizer and dessert. Just make sure you eat what you put on your plate

Food waste contributes 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent to climate change every year and is calculated by how carbon intensive it is to produce.

Wasting any type of food will have a negative carbon impact but meat and dairy products in particular are incredibly harmful to the environment as they are highly carbon intensive to produce.

Be adventurous

If you’re taking a day off from lounging by the hotel pool and want to explore the local area, start by taking public transport.

It’s all too easy to bundle into a private taxi and forget about your ever-increasing carbon footprint but using public transport can massively reduce it.

In places such as Japan, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, public transport is efficient, clean and cheap.

If you’re worried about getting lost, learn some useful phrases and take a map.

Research your resort

Information regarding a hotel’s sustainability practices and eco policies are now highly accessible through their direct websites.

However, if you can’t find quality information and detailed plans of commitment to sustainability, it’s likely the hotel doesn’t have an eco-focus.

While researching, look out for policies on recycling, waste management, sustainable amenity alternatives and even what sort of cleaning products it uses.