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Single-Use Plastic – How to Make The Right Choice for YOU

April 12, 2021
Sustainable hotels are businesses that significantly reduce their environmental impact through green best practices. While there are many ways to move toward sustainability, such as reducing waste, saving energy, and cutting down on water usage, sourcing responsibly is also an important element.

What is green sourcing?

Green procurement involves:

1 – understanding the environmental impact of the entire life cycle of products, looking at where products come from, what they are made of and what happens to them once they have been used; and

2 – comparing results and selecting the most suitable ones for your hotel from an environmental, operational and cost impact perspective.

What are the main benefits of green sourcing?

A common misconception is that green procurement is expensive, however, green sourcing can play a leading role in waste reduction and contribute to better managed resources and efficiency, including cost reductions. In addition, most guests expect hotels to act responsibly and to look after the environment. According to an Accor study, sustainable development is not only a familiar concept for guests, but that they were ready to continue their eco-conscious lifestyle while being on holiday.

Top tips

While it may take an entire organisation to implement a green purchasing program, it only takes a few dedicated individuals to start making the right choices at hotel level. Here are some best practice top tips to consider.

1

Challenge your supplier for evidence that they have effective control of environmental impacts during manufacturing, transportation and disposal of their products. Sometimes just asking the right questions, opens up a whole new conversation about suppliers’ sustainability practices.

2

When it comes to choosing products, third party certifications can provide valuable guidance on the sustainability of a product. A third-party certification is a voluntary label given to products that meet specific environmental standards. Note that these third-party certifications can be provided by different bodies – government agencies, environmental groups or stakeholders in the company, so it is important to look for well-respected and recognised third-party certifications. Some examples include:

3

We produce hundreds of millions of tons of plastic each year, most of which are single use plastics. Following the waste hierarchy, best practice is to avoid producing waste altogether. To reduce waste at your hotel, consider offering single use amenities, such as shower caps and slippers on request to guest. If that is not possible, favour products that minimise waste ending up in landfill. These can include attributes such as reusable/refillable, recyclable, bulk size containers, non-virgin materials, biodegradable and compostable. To find out more about how you can reduce single use plastics at your hotel, click here for Travel Without Plastic’s ‘Let’s Reduce Single-Use Guide’.

4

When looking for energy efficient appliances, look out for the energy ratings label and consider the size of the appliance that you require. In general, energy ratings are categorised by the product’s size. This means that two differently sized appliances with the same energy rating might use different amounts of electricity.

5

Cleaning is for maintaining a healthy, safe and aesthetically pleasing environment, however, some substances can be harmful to human health and the natural environment by being washed through our waterways, being released to the air we breathe and getting into our food chains. Consider choosing products with ingredients that ensure safety and sustainability aspects. Whenever possible, select cleaning products that do not contain potentially hazardous ingredients and are readily biodegradable (meaning naturally able to biodegrade from 60-100% in 28 days, when subjected to sunlight, water and microbial activity).

To summarise, green sourcing does not only increase profit-margins by eliminating or reworking certain expenses, but it is also in the interest of our planet. A planet which we all rely on in order to produce our goods for the long term.

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Jenefer Bobbin
Jenefer Bobbin
Anett Kiss
Anett Kiss
Anett is sustainability professional, based in the UK, with over 10 years of experience from various industries, such as finance, media and aviation. In the last 5+ years she has been working in the hospitality sector at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) where she has been working with hotels and suppliers to reduce the company’s environment impact and improve guest experience through finding sustainable alternatives. Anett has a true passion for sustainable tourism and preserving the natural beauty of the places we visit.

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