More Australians have started booking their stay in hotels conscious of their environmental footprint and the shift towards conscious travellers and responsible hotels is becoming more prominent. Smart, eco-conscious travellers are choosing accommodation options that have integrated high sustainability standards in their guidelines and operations.
A recent report by UN’s World Tourism Organization stated that tourism causes approximately 5% of global CO2 emissions. Furthermore, 20% of these emissions are due to requirements to maintain accommodation settings such as running bars, pools and restaurants. Today, millennials are willing to pay more for socially responsible and sustainable products and services, and this desire for ‘ethical travel’ is helping shape new standards for hotels. Here are ten suggestions of things you can do to travel more responsibly:
- Say goodbye to plastic: This is a prevalent global issue. It is estimated that there will be 12 million kilograms of plastic waste in landfills by 2050. Do your part and invest in a durable BPA-free water bottle to pack with you on your travels. Many travellers have also started investing in a Steripen to sterilize water. Quality Hotel Bayside Geelong provides paper straws, pencils and keep cups instead of plastic straws, pens and takeaway cups. Their green initiative includes in-room recycling receptacles as well as digital document storage to reduce paper consumption by 60%.
- Switch to (quick) showers: If you love relaxing in a bath, try to turn that into an occasional event. What might seem like an innocent bath can use up to 265 litres. While, on the other hand, showers use only a fraction of that. Small initiatives taken by hotels, such as putting up signs to conserve water in bathrooms, may sound tiny but can cause a significant reduction in global CO2 emissions.
- Reuse towels: The universal sign to avoid housekeeping from washing your towel is by hanging it up instead of leaving them on the ground. Since there is no real need to get your towels washed after a single use, make a habit to reuse towels. Quality Hotel Dickson have their Go Green initiative where they place cards in rooms as a reminder to reduce our carbon footprint.
- Avoid using the hotel laundry: Hotels wash their guests’ clothes separately, which in turn, uses up a lot of electricity and water. If you must have your clothes washed, you could hand wash them and hang them to dry overnight.
- Save electricity: Whether you’re in a hotel or at home, it is always a good habit to turn off all lights, air-conditioning, etc. when you leave your room.
- Housekeeping: There are times when your room needs a clean and then there are times when it doesn’t. To keep housekeeping from wasting energy in cleaning and washing, hang the ‘Do not disturb’ on the door.
- Take the freebies: During your stay in a hotel, you might only use the toiletries a couple times. It’s good practice to take any leftovers with you when you check out. You can always reuse the containers. Quality Hotel Batman’s Hill on Collins is one of several Choice Hotels that recycles used soap in association with SoapAid.
- Shopping necessity: Now that you’ve consciously reduced plastic consumption, it’s a good idea to have a reusable bag handy. Take a look at a few simple steps to perfect packing here.
- Shop and eat locally: One of the best ways to contribute to the local area is by supporting local businesses. Having said that, make sure you try the authentic, local food, rather than visiting a large chain restaurant.
- Respect local culture: Buy souvenirs from local artists, share stories with the locals and visit places they recommend in the area. Be aware of cultural diversity when you visit a new country and respect religious places.