GREEN HOSPITALITY RESOURCES
Our team at Green Getaways Australia is often contacted by accommodation operators looking to find the best resources for their properties.
What should we look for? How do we know if the products are genuinely eco-friendly? Which is more important – the packaging or the ingredients?
So here we have put together a number of things to keep in mind when searching for the most environmentally responsible products.
Research shows that up to 95% of the plastic used in your hotel room end up in landfill where they sit for hundreds of years. The top 300 hotel groups in the world alone dispose of an estimated 5.5 billion amenity bottles and caps every year.
When travelling, most hotel guests expect toiletries and amenities in their bathrooms, even when staying at budget hotels. At the very minimum they expect a bar of soap. At the other extreme, when staying at luxury properties, they expect luxury bathroom amenities, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, mouthwash, sewing kits, shower caps, and more (even shoe shine!) The problem with such amenities, however, is that they can create a lot of waste. More waste not only adds to the ever-growing landfills, but it translates to higher trash removal costs, and also makes it difficult for hotels to meet green standards that their guests may also expect.
Partially used bottles of shampoo, or partially used bars of soap, cannot be redistributed to guests and therefore are thrown away. To help avoid the amount of waste going into the landfill, some hotels may choose to donate leftover soaps and shampoos. In some instances, hotels can donate these unused products to companies that will sterilize and distribute them to homeless shelters, or send them to other parts of the world to those that are in need of such amenities. For example, Clean the World accepts partially used bars of soap that they then sterilize and send to communities around the world. They recently shipped over 10,000 pounds of soap to Stop Hunger Now, who will include the soap bars in hygiene packets sent to Kenya and other countries. However, that is only possible if there are resources in a hotel’s community that can provide those services. So, more often than not, the partially used items get thrown away, thus adding to the waste stream.
Hoteliers have several choices if they want to provide their guests with green bathroom amenities. Green amenities such as dispensers, filled from large recyclable containers, are one avenue a hotelier may use to fulfill the desire of the eco-conscious traveller, especially if hotel guests are requesting eco-friendly options..
1. Refillable Dispensers
One option is for accommodation providers to use refillable dispensers. The use of refillable dispensers helps to reduce waste by using refillable dispensers instead of using individual plastic bottles that are eventually thrown into the landfill. More than 800 million slightly used soap bars are thrown out each year. Dispensers can reduce that waste by up to 70 percent, and also save staff the time that is costs to replace amenities on a daily basis.
There is now a wide range of dispensers available that look very stylish compared to those of the past. Hoteliers are responding by incorporating the dispensers into their room design, and educating guests about the benefits of using them. Unfortunately, despite the growing use of dispensers, hotels that use them are still in the minority.
2. Larger Amenity Bottles
A second option is the use of larger sized amenity bottles. Some hotels, in lieu of dispensers, are providing large-bottled versions of their amenities. Guests are offered normal sized bottles with pump dispensers, similar to what might be used at home, of their spa shampoo, conditioner, and bath and shower gel. They do not provide small bottles of any of those amenities, so hotel staff does not need to throw away partially used bars of soap or shampoo.
3. Bring Your Own
Do we really need to have little bottles waiting for us at every turn? Indeed most of us prefer our own shampoo and like to bring our own. Let’s face it – soap in a paper package is probably all we really need.
Look for: The biodegradable or recyclable nature of packaging.
If a product has lots of plastic packaging and packing, chances are the company is not really interested in being environmentally responsible. Look for products that come without excess packaging or, if they do, use a simple recyclable cardboard box. We do not consider any product that is destined for landfill as environmentally friendly.
Plastic: A number of companies are now offering products made with 100% post consumer recycled plastic. Some have been enhanced with a product called EcoPure, to enhance biodegradability.
Look for: Genuine standards
There is no universal standard for “certified organic”. Every organic certification processor has a different set of standards and a different list of what they will allow in a product and what they prohibit. It’s also an expensive process, which deters many brands (with product made from 70 – 100% organic ingredients) and suppliers (with genuine organic ingredients) who don’t have the budget to go through the certification process, or who question the efficacy of the process.
Australian Certified Organic
The local standard in Australia is recognised as one of the most stringent in the world. In Australia this includes no synthetic ingredients at all (including no nature identical). According to ACO, in Australia, for a product to be able to call itself certified organic, it must contain at least 95 percent organic content. Again the formula should be free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, genetic modification and petroleum derivatives. If in doubt, always check for the logo from an accredited certifier. Accredited organic certifiers: ACO (Australia), OFC (Australia), Ecocert (Europe), USDA Organic (US), NASAA (Australia), Demeter (Australia), TOP (Australia) and Soil Association (UK).
Look for: The absence of ingredient listed below.
The absence of GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.).
N.B Some ingredients very frequently found in cosmetics (water, salts, minerals) cannot be certified as organic because they are not sourced from farming. For example, shampoos and some creams, mostly composed of water, contain between 10% and 40% organic ingredients, and always 95% natural ingredients. An essential oil, which does not contain water, can be up to 100% organic ingredients.
Look for: No animal testing at all.
Always check for a No Animal Testing claim on products. Companies who use organic ingredients but test on animals may not be everything they claim to be.
WHO IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
1. The Alto Hotel on Bourke
The Alto Hotel have eliminated all plastic bottles for toiletries and replaced them with refillable, pump-action dispensers. These dispensers will hopefully never see landfill and the shampoo, conditioner and hand-soap used in them are biodegradable.
Below are examples of the types of products currently available. Please let us know if you have more recommendations.
DISCLAIMER: We do not endorse any particle product.The following are examples of the types of products that are available.
Available in 30ml tubes and 60ml bottles. Made with 100% post consumer recycled water bottles and enhanced with EcoPure, LATHER delivers their product in a more environment-friendly package than many others.
Free of synthetic colours and fragrances
Propylene Glycol free
Never tested on animals
“Made with post consumer recycled bottles and all materials are recyclable. Contains certified organic ingredients. No animal by-products, no honey, lanolin or beeswax Paraben and toxin-free: No synthetic fragrances, fillers or colours.”
ECO BOUTIQUE addresses the problematic issue of plastic waste, the demand for natural ingredients and gentle skin-friendly products.
The recyclable bottles are 97% derived from post-consumer recycled plastic, and the soap is wrapped in paper from a sustainable source.
The formulations contain organically certified extracts of green tea, and natural aloe leaf and are gently scented with Mimosa.
Products DO NOT CONTAIN: SLS, SLES, Parabens, DEA, Paraffin Oil, Artificial Colours, Silicones, GM ingredients.
AQUAMENITIES has created a soap shampoo dispenser fixture designed to provide accommodation properties with a solution to help reach sustainability goals.
The tamper-resistant fixture also allows hoteliers to feature a choice of branded and customized amenities for guests while helping to limiting the properties’ carbon footprint.