There are plenty of reasons to make your hotel or yoga retreat eco-friendly and sustainable. You can think about lowering your impact on the environment, saving electricity, reducing labor and operational costs, and about keeping your guests happy. Not to mention the positive publicity and great marketing that comes with a truly sustainable accommodation! Ready to get started? Here are 6 powerful ways to make your hotel or yoga retreat eco-friendly.
1. Recycling bins in the guest rooms
Most hotels have some sort of recycling program, either by recycling plastic, paper or glass, reusing rainwater for cleaning, or a different recycling program. Even used soap bars can get a second life with a program such as Clean the World. There are many ways a hotel can recycle and reuse things, but usually they forget to offer their guests recycling options in their own rooms.
Place a recycling bin in every room and in common areas. Inform your guests about their options, and let them contribute to the success of your hotel’s recycling program.
2. Promote eco-friendly transport and carbon-offset programs
Provide your guests with information about eco-friendly ways to reach your accommodation. What public transport can they take? Is there a bus they can hop on? Bicycles they can use?
Of course, most tourists use air travel to reach their destinations. Thailand, Bali, and even Italy are popular flying routes. People travel from all over the world to enjoy the comforts of your accommodation.
Unfortunately, air travel emits huge amounts of CO2, and that negatively impacts the local culture and nature. Did you know that a one-way flight from London to Bangkok emits 1.45 tonnes of CO2? That equals about 2064 laundry washes, 708 showers of 10 minutes, and 753 of watching TV. That is 14% of the yearly energy consumption of a Dutch household!
FlyGRN Search Widget
A way to offset these high CO2 emissions, is to promote the service of flight comparison sites, such as FlyGRN. If your guests purchase their flight tickets via FlyGRN, FlyGRN invests in solar panels and tree planting projects in India and Chad. FlyGRN uses the fees it gets from airlines to help offset CO2 emissions worldwide.
Install the FlyGRN search widget on your website and let guests search for flights on your website, using the widget. The price always includes the CO2 compensation and emissions are automatically compensated when they book a flight. Check out an example here.
3. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Synthetic cleaning products contain harmful ingredients, which can be unhealthy for both living organisms (including us) and our planet. They release high levels of toxic chemicals in the air, the water and the ground, potentially leading to skin allergies, asthma, skin burns, and eye damage. Not to mention the damage they do to the environment.
Of course, this also applies to ‘natural’ cleaning products, which are basically chemicals as well, since everything in life is made up of chemicals. You don’t want to get lemon juice in your eye, or drown a hill of ants in white vinegar.
But many natural cleaning products are better for the environment as they don’t harm the environment as much as synthetic cleaning products do. You can easily eat a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar, but if you eat a tablespoon of Mr. Muscle…you’ll definitely get a strong reaction.
After being rinsed down the drain, the water (and the cleaning products) end up in the waste water treatment facilities. This is where the harmful contaminants are removed from the water, before the water goes back to natural rivers. Unfortunately, not all contaminants in synthetic products can be removed from the waste water treatment facilities, thus damaging wildlife.
You can prevent this by changing to eco-friendly cleaning products! For inspiration on what eco-friendly cleaning products to use, check out this impressive list of suppliers on the website of Anamaya Resort. They publicly promote their suppliers to encourage other hotels to go green as well.
4. Reuse towels & sheets
Most hotels already have a towel and sheet reuse program to save water (and water costs). Of course, you want to provide your guests with fresh linens and towels every day, but most people don’t even use that many towels at home anyway.
If you give your guests the option to reuse their towel, the only thing they need to do is hang it up. If they want a fresh towel, they can put it on the floor or in a basket. You can put this information on a placard somewhere in the bathroom, so the guests are aware of their options.
The amount of water and money you’ll be saving can be enormous, as it will result in less laundry, less water consumption, and less labor for your cleaning staff. Your guests will also appreciate your efforts to save water, which makes it a win-win situation!
5. Source your food locally and eat less meat
The trucking and shipping of food products accounts for about 11% of overall emissions of CO2. Although food transport has never been cheaper, it has a major environmental impact. Sourcing your foods from the fields and farmers close-by, makes a huge difference.
Another huge contributor to global warming is the meat industry, specifically beef cattle. They produce a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas. They also take up a lot of land, leading to deforestation. This doesn't mean that you can't eat or serve meat at all anymore, but western societies drastically over consume animal products. Reducing our intake of animal products is beneficial for our planet and our health.
When you market your hotel or yoga retreat as sustainable and eco-friendly, this will attract eco-minded visitors. Usually, they are the ones that genuinely care about healthy, veggie/vegan, sustainable food to nourish their body and soul. Providing these guests with organic, locally sourced food, will make sure that they are happy and content. Also, local ingredients make your guests’ dining experience more unique and authentic.
6. Promote sustainable yoga & resort wear
If you are running a retreat or if you host a shop at your hotel, offer your guests sustainable, organic, and ethical yoga or resort wear. The clothing industry is one of the biggest polluting industries in the world, so make sure you don’t contribute to that. There are tons of sustainable clothing brands available, such as Vegan Resort Wear, WE-AR, Soul Flower, Ocean Child Swimwear, and Natasha Tonic Swimwear.
And don’t forget about the yoga mats! Yogis are generally very conscious about their impact on the environment, and just like their food, they strive to use organic, non-toxic clothes and yoga mats. Make sure your yoga mats are made from sustainable materials. Some examples of eco-friendly yoga mats are the American Manduka eKO Mats, the Barefoot Yoga Original Eco Yoga Mats, and the Dutch FLXBL Yoga Mats. FLXBL offers great eco-friendly yoga mats / top layers, that can also be used for travelling.
There are so many ways to make your hotel or yoga retreat sustainable, that I could write a book about it! Maybe I will… but for now, here are some other ideas on how to green up:
- Contribute to the local environment and organise beach clean-ups or offer educational programs to the local community.
- Install a sustainable, low flush & low-flow water structure, to reduce water usage and costs.
- Install automatic switches for lights, airconditioning, heating, and other electronic devices.
- Let guests refill their reusable water bottles with clean, filtered water.
Learn more about how to organise a sustainable event!
Author: Jessica Scheper