Talking Point: Tackling wastewater on a global scale on World Water Day

Hotels should look at ways to tackle waste water.

Hotels should look at ways to tackle waste water.

Joseph Bazzinotti, global president, commercial laundry at Xeros looks at why hotels dealing with their wastewater can help save them money as well as protect this precious resource.

In 1993, the United Nations officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. With over 663 million people living without fresh water supply close to their homes, the purpose of this day is to shift the world’s focus onto the sustainable management of this precious resource.

In recent years, pressure has been mounting for concrete action to take place. Launched in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key initiative in the fight to eradicate the extreme poverty.

This year’s theme for World Water Day is wastewater. As stated on the World Water Day website, the vast majority of all wastewater from our cities, industries and agriculture flows back into nature without being treated or re-used, polluting the environment. However, by looking at ways we can reduce wastewater as well as treat it so it can be reused, we will be able to make the water cycle work better to benefit every living thing on earth.

Green Hotelier featured some of the efforts and innovative actions hotels are taking to deal with waste water, for example Serena Hotels which created a lagoon in the Kenya national park. Marina Bay Sands in Singapore captures 500m3 of rainwater per year in the lotus flower shaped roof of its ArtScience Museum. It is filtered and recycled for use in the flush water toilet systems. 500m3 is equivalent to two years’ supply for a four room flat.

Shortly after World Water Day, a reformation of the retail water market takes place in England for non-domestic water customers which will enable hotels and other businesses to reduce their wastewater and also, their costs. From April 1, 2017, all businesses in England will be able to buy water and wastewater services from whichever providers they like, which is expected to drive competition in the market and reduce prices.

This is good news for hotel and leisure operators who are trying to ensure that they are doing their bit to help the environment. However, another way hotels may reduce their bills and wastewater is by investing in an eco-friendly near-waterless laundry system. Because this system uses less water, there is less wastewater released into the environment.

One example of this type of laundry system, when implemented in a hotel, saves £4,000 a year on water bills (assuming 23kg loads and eight washes over a six-day week, multiplied by 52 weeks).

Wastewater is a huge issue not only in terms of the environmental impact but also the cost to hotels and other businesses. I believe the de-regulation of the market will help hotels, spas and commercial laundries reduce their water bills further – but another key way is to implement near-waterless and eco-friendly laundry technology.

Xeros washing machines reduce water and detergent use, use less energy and wash materials more effectively, whilst also being gentler than standard aqueous washers. If a hotel were to switch its water provider after April 1 and implement an improved laundry system, the savings each year would be between 1% and 8%.

One UK-based hotel spa that has changed its laundry is Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa in Suffolk.

Steve Miles, housekeeping manager, told us, “As soon as I found out the system uses up to 80% less water and 50% less energy and detergent than conventional machines I was very interested. Even aromatherapy treatment oils are removed easily from towels used in the spa by the Xeros cleaning system.”

Wastewater is often overlooked as an environmental issue for hotels in favour of reducing consumption via low-flow taps, showers and toilets, but, rainwater harvesting and grey water systems help save costs and reduce hotels’ impact on the environment. There are a range of features on Green Hotelier which offer more information on how to do that.

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