HousekeepingNewsNews In BriefOp-Ed

Global trends for sustainability in hotel guestroom supplies

Like anything worthwhile, working towards sustainability takes commitment

It is great to see so many accommodation businesses now investing in sustainable practices and providing more sustainable amenities.

I am sharing my experience of a recent site visit to Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi because it is a really great example to aspire to. Ram Chena, Director of Housekeeping attended the three-day L&A Housekeeping Operational Workshop in Dubai and invited me to see everything he has implemented on the sustainability front.

Previously published in the summer print edition of AccomNews HERE

Ram has gone to extraordinary lengths to succeed down the “No Plastics Path”. His dispensable liquid amenities in 480ml bottles have saved the resort 39 percent in costs and reduced more than 86,000 single-use plastic bottles every year. For the “dry” amenities, the hotel is using waterproof recycled packaging which is a combination of wastepaper pulp and starch.

Images of Liz Lycette’s recent site visit to Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

The amenities themselves — comb, toothbrush, razor, cotton tips, and nail files — have been replaced with bamboo or wooden material instead of plastic.

Stirrers in the minibar are wooden instead of plastic, straws are made of sugarcane and even the Lavazza coffee capsules are 100 percent compostable paper. Plastic laundry bags have been replaced with washable parachute material which is also waterproof. Even the shopping and beach bags at the resort are now made of jute.

The hotel is part of the “Hope for Soap” programme, recycling used soap to be processed and distributed to needy communities. The latest and most costly innovation is the installation of a water purification and glass bottling plant in the hotel. Impressively, this will eliminate 600,000 plastic water bottles per year, and with an ROI of three years, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Images of Liz Lycette’s recent site visit to Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Ram is not there yet; he is still looking for a sustainable solution to plastic toothpaste tubes. The chewable toothpaste tablets he recently tried were not acceptable to the guest, and he’s now looking into recyclable aluminium toothpaste tubes. Mouthwash is also proving tricky with possible glass solutions as one option.

The first time I encountered sustainability in housekeeping guestroom amenities was ten years ago. I discovered refillable 500 ml shampoo, conditioner and bath gel bottles at the luxury 5-star Mayfair Hotel London, a Radisson Edwardian property.

The avant-garde management team took the brave step of offering 5-star guests premium brand bathroom toiletries in 500ml refillable bottles. They encountered very little resistance from their prestigious clientele although they still maintained a stock of small bottles for those guests who insisted. The reduction in costs meant the hotel could use a very high-end product inside the bottles which offset the changed presentation style.

A decade on and finally hotels the world over have followed suit, and refillable large size bottled shampoo, shower gel, conditioner and body lotion are now the norm rather than the exception. Even high-end brands such as Ritz-Carlton have taken the plunge to provide exceptional quality shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and bath gel in refillable bottles.

When I worked for Marriott in Macau, we followed the progress of initiating this huge change to bathroom guest supplies in over 7000 properties worldwide. Many months of research and testing went into ensuring the bottles were hygienic, tamper proof, easy to refill and would fulfill all the guests’ expectations.

It’s not only about small bathroom bottles, big steps have also been taken to ensure there is no longer any single use packaging throughout the guest rooms in hotels globally.

Images of Liz Lycette’s recent site visit to Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

What’s happening in Australia?

Many sustainable guest bathroom and room supplies and products are easily available in Australia, especially large size refillable bottles and the dry bathroom accessory range with sustainable packaging. Product packaging can be made from cornstarch, wheat and wood however these are often more expensive than cheap plastic alternatives.

For guest room soap recycling, Soap Aid in Australia is available to those hotels willing to pay a fee to have used bathroom soap collected, sorted, cleaned, recycled, processed and then sent on to those in need throughout the world. So far Soap Aid has saved over 290 tonnes of soap from landfill with 2.9 million soap aid bars distributed to over 500,000 adults and children globally.

Anything worthwhile takes commitment and a true desire on the part of housekeeping and senior managers to aspire to the goal of maximum sustainability.

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