Talking Point: Can you take your green credentials outside?

Pacific Ocean sustainable outdoor furniture

Pacific Ocean sustainable outdoor furniture

Warmer days encourage customers and guests to eat and relax al fresco, but many outdoor living purchases may see your green credentials vanish into thin air. Simon Tappenden, director at Ovation Commercial Services, has some tips for an environmentally friendly patio or deck.

Being a green hotelier is often easier to achieve indoors than out, with organic mattresses, bamboo towels, and woollen carpets – not to mention heat pumps providing underfloor heating - all being appreciated as hallmarks of eco-friendly establishments.

But sustainability does not have to end at the patio doors: several new and exciting brands, dedicated to eco-concern, are helping hoteliers to extend their green credentials to their decking, poolside and al fresco dining areas, without any loss of style or ambience.

Outdoor furniture comes in a range of options to help guests relax or dine in warm weather, but often made from plastic or wood, the options are not always sustainable. Pacific Ocean offers a range of eye-catching chairs, tables, love seats, loungers, stools and benches which are resilient to the elements, but it’s the green backstory which is raising eyebrows.

Hotel guests can relax, sunbathe and watch the sun go down in total comfort, thanks to this high-end, ergonomically designed and wow-factor furniture, as bold or as subtle in colour as a hotelier desires, but what’s fantastic for the eco-conscious hotelier, the products are created from plastic debris sourced from oceans and landfill sites.

Amazingly, this outdoor furniture could have started life as a plastic milk carton, water bottle cap, or other piece of plastic refuse. The items are recycled and transformed during an advanced moulded extrusion process that results in beautiful grain-finished planks, from which each piece of furniture is then hand-crafted.

Whilst the resulting end-product has the same warmth and grain finish of wood, it has vastly superior qualities, refusing to rot, crack, or split, requiring no painting or staining and offering guarantees against fading, discolouring and chalking. For hotels by the sea, it’s a dream come true, and comes with built-in marine pollution messages for guests.

Other environmentally friendly outdoor area products include Ecodek®; a sustainable alternative to timber that comes with a 25-year warranty. This material is made of a blend of recycled hardwood – beech fibres reclaimed from saw mills - and high-density polyethylene from recycled plastic milk bottles. These two components are combined with a blend of additives, to provide colour and deter fading, which results in a decking, balcony or poolside flooring composed, from 95% recycled product.

The product has both FSC and PEFC certification, with all wood sourced from sustainable forests, whilst a made-to-measure service, and a waste and offcut buy-back scheme, mean any excess product can be recycled once more.

Ecodek® won’t split or splinter, rot, or crack, and no painting, staining or treatment is necessary. It’s a hard-wearing, decking product, which also has the advantage of being resistant to cigarettes, chewing gum marks and drinks stains.

A real bone of contention for hoteliers keen to offer outdoor relaxation for guests is how to keep them warm and comfortable on cooler days and chillier evenings. Typical gas or electric heaters are really not sustainable.

If hoteliers are looking for a compromise beyond simple blankets, wood and coal fuel specialist, Logs Direct, has an innovative answer in the shape of Coffee Logs.

Coffee logsMade by bio-bean®, Coffee Logs are premium quality eco briquettes for chimineas which are manufactured from recycled coffee grounds collected from coffee shops, offices and waste management companies. Each Coffee Log is formed from the grounds of around 25 cups of coffee and burns hotter, cleaner and longer than wood.

This 100 per cent carbon-neutral fuel won’t waft an aroma of coffee on the breeze, as that comes from oils which are extracted when the coffee grounds are dried, compacted and coated in wax, to form the briquette.

As the holiday season comes around, hoteliers will be pleased to learn there are some outdoor solutions which enrich their guests’ al fresco experiences, whilst enhancing their green credentials at the same time. What’s even better is that you won’t have to compromise on quality.

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