Guest post by Bryn Huntpalmer of Modernize.
From filling out paperwork to selecting vendors and managing staff, if you own a hotel, you are certainly busy. With so many elements to juggle, environmental friendliness can slip down the ladder of importance. It may seem daunting to address the term “eco-friendly” when it involves company-wide changes, so we at Modernize have a few tricks to maintain a greener environment without sacrificing your guests’ comfort and satisfaction.
Boost Your Energy Efficiency
Let’s face it; hotels require significant energy levels to function, from heating and cooling to laundering and powering electronics. Monitoring utility bills is the first step in making a change. Set a goal to reduce energy consumption and design an action plan.
One of the biggest users of energy is a hotel’s HVAC system. Go eco-friendly by upgrading to an adjustable, green system that will keep both you and your guests comfortable. Innovative HVAC systems are equipped with digital thermostats that guests can set, just like they would at home. The revolutionary “unoccupied” setting is the key to conserving energy. Smart systems can sense when a guest leaves the room, reset to a standard temperature, and then sense when the guest returns and readjust accordingly. This eliminates wasted energy when no one is even in the room to enjoy that cool blast or cozy heat.
You’ll love the lower utility bills, the raving reviews from guests and the clear consciousness of doing your part to protect the world we love.
Stock Your Kitchens with Organic Food
Food can be a decadent part of the hospitality industry, from buffets to room service, breakfast bars and restaurants. Improve the taste and quality of your cuisine by shopping for organic ingredients. Guests will appreciate how much you care and enjoy the deliciousness of your meals. It may seem like a small change, but supplying your business with organic food is actually better for the environment, too.
Organic gardens are more sustainable over time, and farmers don’t use harmful chemicals and nonrenewable energy sources to grow their crops. Agrochemicals, which are often used for non-organic produce, contribute to global warming and water contamination. Supporting organic farmers and local vendors will reduce these harmful effects.
If you are ready to make a huge change, you can even grow your own garden and pull herbs, produce and legumes right from your own backyard!
Recycle and Reuse
Switch to green paper products crafted from recycled material to eliminate paper waste. Unbleached and recycled paper towels, coffee cups, plates and straws are a few of our favorite eco-friendly hospitality products.
Promote recycling in your hotel by training staff and setting up recycling bins in each guest room. Don’t forget to encourage eco-friendly practices by placing recycling bins in the lobby, gym, pool room and other common areas. Order supplies in bulk to cut down on the amount of packaging waste.
Reduce waste by reusing items and donating to the local community. When it’s time to update your hotel’s decor, donate unwanted furniture and linens instead of tossing them out. You can also donate wrapped, unopened groceries to local food banks, benefitting both the planet and your neighbors!
Best Practices for Eco-Friendly Hotels
Establishing green practices is a team effort, so train your staff to be on team Earth. Establish rules for turning lights off when exiting a room, unplugging unused electronics and reducing personal waste levels. Offer incentives for staff who are dedicated to eco-friendly practices, and applaud their efforts regularly.
When choosing vendors for supplies like toiletries, coffee and tea, support local, fair-trade businesses. Keep everything bright and shiny by switching to non-toxic cleaners to improve indoor and outdoor air quality, so that you and your guests can literally breathe easier.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental Conservation, Good Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. For Training information and assistance, contact us.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.
ECO series on Sustainability: Solid Waste and Climate change
“According to a new U.N. report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” –Jay Leno
Let’s start in our homes. Much had been reported, blogged, FB posted and twitted about the worsening problem of solid waste in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines. There had been scores of seminars, conferences and fora conducted to “discuss” ways of solving the problem but not fully implementing them. For how long will it take the country to attain a zero waste economy, no one knows. But, one thing is sure – time is running out and WE need to act. NOW.
The answer is simple, but at the same time, tricky. Consider this: Metro Manila’s solid waste based on studies made by the National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), is estimated that per capita wasteproduction daily is 0.5 kg; meaning every person living in the metropolis generates half a kilo of garbage a day. With an estimated population of10.5 million, total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day, or 162,750 metric tons per month, a total of1.95 million metric tons per year. Definitely, a whole lotta waste!
Our daily waste, our daily RESPONSIBILITY. Based on the EMB study, only about 73% of the 5,250 metric tons of waste generated daily arecollected by dump trucks hired by our respective local government units – that is assuming our LGUs are dedicated to their duties to taxpayers. The remaining 27% of daily waste or about 1,417.5 metric tons end up in canals, vacant spaces, street corners, market places, rivers and prohibited places!
This explains why WE need to act. As we produce garbage ourselves, we are part of the problem. But, we can also be part of the solution by reducing our contribution to the worsening waste crisis and help mitigate climate change effects.
This measure is in fact 1o years too late. However, at the rate we are producing waste we will soon be having more of our human-made mountains of garbage amidst us or worse, find ourselves buried in our own trash!
The catastrophic disasters and major typhoons that brought about tragedy and casualties not to mention filthy garbage in its course, should strengthen our resolve to do something about our wasteful lifestyles.
Talks about landfill as an alternative engineering solution to the garbage problem for the so-called residual waste, is fine. But where to site the landfill is another issue.
The most important reason why we have to act now on the worsening solid waste problem is their impact on human health and climate change. Health is a basic human right. We all deserve to live in a cleaner environment- a healthy family, neighborhood and nation. The only way to satisfy these needs is to do away with garbage that spreads diseases in our homes and communities.
Landfills and rudimentary incinerators contribute to global climate change by destroying resources. Methane produced from decomposing garbage in landfill is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses and is 23 times stronger than CO2 in capturing heat. The less we throw away, the less garbage ends up in landfills, the less methane they produce.
Republic Act No. 9003 Revisited. RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” provided the legal framework for the Philippines’ systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that should ensure protection of public health and the environment more than 10 years ago. It underscored, the need to create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, as well asimposes penalties for acts in violation of any of its provisions.
How R.A. No. 9003 should HAVE worked for your community:
- Creation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission(NSWMC), the National Ecology Center (NEC) and the Solid Waste Management Board in every province, city and municipality in the country.
- The Solid Waste Management Board of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be responsible for the development of their respective solid waste management plans.
- Mandatory segregation of solid waste to be conducted primarily at the source such as household, institutional, industrial, commercialand agricultural sources;
- Setting of minimum requirements to ensure systematic collection and transport of wastes;
- Establishment of reclamation programs and buy-back centers for recyclable and toxic materials;
- Promotion of eco-labeling in local products and services;
- Prohibition on non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging;
- Establishment of Materials Recovery Facility in every barangay or cluster of barangays;
- Prohibition against the use of open dumps;
- Setting of guidelines/criteria for the establishment of controlleddumps and sanitary landfills;
- Provision of rewards, incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal, financial assistance, grants and the like to encourage LGUs and the general public to undertake effective solid waste management.
How can we help solve the solid waste problem? Are you doing it now?
There are many ways to do it. A highly recommended formula is to adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.
In addition, let us avoid doing these PROHIBITED ACTS under the law:
– Littering, throwing, dumping of waste materials in public places like roads, sidewalks, canals, parks and vacant lots;
– Open burning of solid waste;
– Allowing the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste;
– Open dumping or burying of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas;
– Mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal;
– Manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;
– Establishment or operation of open dumps; and
– Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.
Last but not the least, do positive. Take Action. Demand from your political representatives and public officials to provide the basic services as mandated by RA 9003.
Waste not, want not. Prov. Cliché If you do not waste anything, you will always have enough.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
Source and further information: The National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat -ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU, DENR Philippines; King County Solid Waste Division. Meguro Solid Waste Managment, Tokyo, Japan.