World Environment Day 2023: The hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to lead the way in embracing circular economy principles and sustainable practices
In an era of growing environmental concerns, it is crucial for businesses across industries to embrace sustainable practises. Within the hospitality industry, there is a significant opportunity to minimise the environmental impact and contribute to a more sustainable future. Over the years, numerous establishments have taken commendable steps towards adopting circular economy principles in their operations. These initiatives not only reduce waste generation but also pave the way for a responsible and eco-friendly approach for the hospitality industry.
Minimising Single-Use Plastics: A Commitment to Environmental Stewardship
The detrimental effects of single-use plastics on our planet are undeniable. As responsible members of the hospitality industry, it is our duty to minimise the consumption of single-use plastics within our premises. By implementing sustainable alternatives, we can significantly reduce plastic waste and demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment.
For instance, replacing plastic amenities with refillable containers or dispensers reduces the reliance on single-use plastic bottles and packaging. This simple change can have a substantial positive impact on the environment, while still meeting the needs and expectations of guests.
Sustainable Waste Management: Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling
Hotels can make a significant contribution to the circular economy by adopting sustainable waste management practises. By prioritising waste reduction, reusing materials, and implementing effective recycling programmes, establishments can minimise their environmental footprint.
Choosing recycled or compostable alternatives for items such as trash bin liners, toiletry packaging, and food containers, can significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Additionally, encouraging guests to participate in recycling programmes and providing clear signage for proper waste disposal can contribute to a more sustainable hospitality experience.
Responsible Amenities: Empowering Guests to Make Sustainable Choices
Hotels have the opportunity to offer amenities that align with sustainable principles. By selecting eco-friendly options and providing guests with alternatives to single-use items, we can empower them to make environmentally conscious choices during their stay.
For example, offering reusable water bottles or refill stations instead of single-use plastic bottles encourage guests to reduce their plastic waste while staying hydrated. Providing guests with information about local businesses or vendors that prioritise sustainability allows them to make informed choices during their time in the area.
Plastic Straw Alternatives: Sipping Responsibly
One of the most notorious contributors to plastic pollution is the plastic straw. In a bid to combat this issue, hotels have completely eliminated plastic straws from their properties. Instead, the hospitality industry has proudly started to offer paper straws to guests as a sustainable alternative. By making this switch, one property prevented over 200,000 plastic straws from ending up in landfills or polluting our oceans.
Refillable Glass Bottles: A Sustainable Quencher
In order to meet their commitment to reducing plastic waste, hotels have eliminated single-use mineral water bottles from guest rooms. Instead, serving guests refillable glass bottles filled with filtered water from the on-site reverse osmosis (RO) system. This initiative alone has prevented a staggering number of plastic bottles—around 400,000—from clogging landfills and polluting our environment.
Collaboration for a Sustainable Future
To further promote a circular economy in the hospitality industry, collaborations with local sustainable brands can be mutually beneficial. Partnering with environmentally conscious suppliers not only supports local businesses but also ensures that the products and services offered align with sustainable practises.
By sourcing eco-friendly toiletries, linens, and cleaning products from local suppliers, hotels can reduce their ecological impact while providing guests with high-quality experiences. This partnership fosters a sense of community engagement and shared responsibility for creating a sustainable future.
The hospitality industry has a unique opportunity to lead the way in embracing circular economy principles and sustainable practises. By minimising single-use plastics, implementing sustainable waste management strategies, providing responsible amenities, and fostering collaborations with local sustainable brands, hotels can make a substantial positive impact on the environment.
As guests increasingly seek out environmentally conscious establishments, embracing the circular economy not only benefits the planet but also enhances the reputation and competitiveness of hospitality businesses. Let us join hands to create a hospitality industry that values sustainability, delivers exceptional guest experiences, and leaves a positive legacy for future generations. Together, we can build a more sustainable future for hospitality industry--one that showcases the harmony between luxury and responsible stewardship of our environment.
(Ritu Gargya is head of sustainability and marketing, Ganga Kinare by Himalayan Hotels.)