Five Steps to a Suc­cess­ful Towel & Linen Re­use Scheme

Ho­tel ap­proaches to towel and linen sus­tain­abil­ity vary con­sid­er­ably. Here are five sim­ple steps to get­ting it right.

Tourism Tattler - - EDITORIAL - About the Au­thor: Jeremy Smith is a writer and con­sul­tant spe­cial­is­ing in re­spon­si­ble tourism, and au­thor of Clean Breaks – 500 New Ways to See the World (Rough Guides). Many in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cles can be found on Jeremy's blog at http://jm­c­smith.co.uk/cate

Use The Most En­vi­ron­men­tally Friendly Ma­te­ri­als Pos­si­ble W Ho­tels in North Amer­ica have launched a new range of bed linen made from re­cy­cled plas­tic bot­tles. Early May saw the ho­tel launch the Eko­cy­cle range of bed­li­nen, de­signed in a part­ner­ship be­tween Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and Coca Cola. Each king size Eko­cy­cle sheet con­tains around 31 re­cy­cled 600ml plas­tic bot­tles. It’s an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of mak­ing sus­tain­abil­ity seem cool while de­sign­ing waste out of a sys­tem. Get Your Mes­sage Right Too of­ten ho­tels print ex­ag­ger­ated green­wash mes­sages on their cards, sug­gest­ing that peo­ple can some­how ‘save the planet’ by us­ing less tow­els. In­creas­ing amounts of re­search show this form of mes­sag­ing isn’t the most suc­cess­ful ap­proach. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Lux­em­bourg ar­ranged for ho­tels in two Swiss and Aus­trian ski re­sorts to put three dif­fer­ent signs in their bath­rooms: one was a typ­i­cal re­quest to use fewer tow­els to help the en­vi­ron­ment; one said that 75 per cent of ho­tel guests re­use their tow­els; and the third claimed three-quar­ters of guests in that par­tic­u­lar room reused their tow­els. The third ap­proach was by some mar­gin the most suc­cess­ful, back­ing up ear­lier re­search that came to the same con­clu­sion. “Peo­ple want to be ac­cepted into groups and so we act in ways that make us be­long,” wrote the study’s lead au­thor Dr Ger­hard Reese in The Jour­nal of So­cial Psy­chol­ogy. “In­stinc­tively, we feel close to those who have used a ho­tel room be­fore us, be­liev­ing that they are sim­i­lar to our­selves. Thus we are more likely to fol­low their be­hav­iour.” Show A Tan­gi­ble Ben­e­fit For Guests Star­wood’s ‘ Make a Green Choice‘ scheme give guests a $5 food and drink voucher or 500 Star­wood points for ev­ery day they de­cline house­keep­ing’s ser­vices (ex­cept de­par­ture day). of course this ap­proach not only re­wards guests, it does so by driv­ing cus­tom to its own restau­rants. How­ever as a word of warn­ing about un­fore­seen neg­a­tive con­se­quences, in De­cem­ber 2014, 200 pro­test­ers amassed out­side Toronto’s Sher­a­ton Cen­tre ob­ject­ing that the green pro­gramme was tak­ing away jobs. Work­ing out how to re­as­sure staff that their jobs are not at risk from sus­tain­abil­ity schemes that will by their na­ture re­duce their work­load will be a chal­lenge for any ac­com­mo­da­tion provider look­ing for a truly in­te­grated so­lu­tion.

Show A Tan­gi­ble Ben­e­fit For Some­one Else Radis­son Blu has just launched a new towel re­use cam­paign with wa­ter char­ity Just a Drop. For ev­ery 250 tow­els that guests re­use, the ho­tel chain will do­nate enough money to Just a Drop to pro­vide clean wa­ter for a child for life. Guests will learn how many chil­dren were pro­vided with drink­ing wa­ter through the ho­tel’s in bath­room cards, with Radis­son Blu hop­ing to en­sure 12,000 chil­dren have ac­cess to fresh drink­ing wa­ter each year.

Don’t Just Throw Tow­els And Linen Away At the Eco Fash­ion Week Show, seven de­sign­ers showed off ki­monos made from for­mer bed linen from the lo­cal Fair­mount Wa­ter­front Ho­tel. Like­wise, Mar­riott is part­ner­ing with a UK so­cial en­ter­prise called Sleep­ingBags to re­pur­pose ho­tel bed linen that has reached the end of its life back into items that can be used in guest rooms – such as bathrobes, tote bags and slip­pers.

Know of any other in­no­va­tive re­sponses to the ho­tel linen re­use scheme? Share them on Twit­ter at @wt­m_wrtd

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