Talking Point: Why is it important for housekeeping to clean green?

sustainable cleaning in hotels

Training housekeeping can improve your sustainability

Housekeeping is at the frontline of any hotel business, both in terms of their contact with guests and their presentation of rooms for guest appreciation. But their role in creating a sustainable hotel is often overlooked, but critical. In this Talking Point we look at how staff can be trained to help boost a hotel’s environmental performance.

1. Eco-friendly products

Many of the products that are used in everyday tasks at a hotel can have a tremendous impact on the environment and people around them. For example, chemical-based fungicides can impact local insect populations including bees, and certain cleaning liquids can release toxic fumes or harm cleaning staff if improperly handled. This is a completely unnecessary risk when there are many alternative eco-friendly products - including disinfectants, glass and window cleaners, liquid soaps, degreasers, laundry bleach and many more - to choose from.

2. Clean towel policy so guests help cut down on washing

 It has been standard practice for hotel guests to get clean towels daily. While this is undoubtedly a perk for guests, when thinking green there’s a lot of doubt over whether it’s really necessary. This shift in attitude has resulted in many hotels adopting a policy where only dirty towels which are left on the floor will be replaced by housekeeping. Other hotels may have their own rules regarding how or where you leave your dirty towels, such as a rack or a hook on the back of a door, but the end result is the same: less washing means less harm to the environment.

It’s also a positive way to portray your hotel to residents when an information card is placed in the bathroom.

3. Organic washing powders

 Many of us don’t think twice about the washing powders we use, often choosing our favourite brand or whatever best suits our pocket. This attitude carries through to the washing powders hotel managers use in their hotels, without taking into consideration two major factors:

  • The washing powder you use may contain toxic chemicals that can negatively impact your health
  • Excessive washing dumps these chemicals into the sewers, which in turn might end up in rivers or the ocean

Switching to more eco-friendly brands can reduce water consumption and lower your waste production - which is especially important as water scarcity becomes an increasing concern across the globe. Modern washing machines use less water and some include technology which allows them to use just a fraction of the water of a usual machine.

4. Products with less packaging

Anyone who has ordered an item online will be familiar with the huge box that arrives filled with packing material, only to dig through all of it looking for the tiny item that you actually ordered. While most people understand the reasoning behind this (we’d all be frustrated if our orders arrived damaged or broken), there’s no doubt that we also recognise how much of these packing products will just be thrown away, ending up in a garbage dump or landfill.

As a hotel manager, you’ll be ordering items in bulk so make sure to choose companies that offer eco-friendly packaging or communicate with your favorite brand that there are steps they could take to more efficiently package their products.

5. Training course for staff to learn company values when it comes to cleaning green

Having eco-friendly products and processes in place are no good if staff aren’t making use of them. This is impacted by each staff member’s individual beliefs in regards to environmentally friendly practices, which is why it’s important for hotels to offer training courses for their staff. This will help hotels conserve water which might be wasted otherwise by unnecessary flushing of toilets or washing of towels and linen when the guest hasn’t specifically requested clean linen.

This doesn’t only affect the hotel environment, but will carry over into other aspects of the staff’s lives as well. There are a number of areas that hotels can focus on when it comes to training their staff, including water management and rationalisation, energy efficiency, and waste recycling, and as they say, every little helps.

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