5 reasons to change your amenities for more sustainable alternatives


April 17, 2024


Content in collaboration with our partner Bioscore Sustainabilitysustainability consultancy for tourism companies.

The hotel industry is at a turning point in the adoption of sustainable practices. Increasing environmental awareness on the part of travelers requires hotels to be more responsible in the management of their resources and the impact they have on the planet.

One of the aspects where sustainability takes on special relevance is in the use of amenities. The traditional single-dose amenities, generally made of plastic or cardboard, represent a high volume of waste that, in many cases, is not adequately recycled.

In this article, we offer you some of the reasons why switching from single-serve amenities to more sustainable alternatives is a crucial decision for hotels looking to adapt to new market needs and contribute to environmental protection.

Carbon footprint reduction

Single-dose amenities, especially plastic ones, have a considerable carbon footprint. Their production, transportation and disposal generate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Below, we take a detailed look at each stage of their life cycle:

The production of plastic amenities has a significant environmental impact at several stages. The extraction of oil, a non-renewable resource necessary for its manufacture, can cause damage to ecosystems and pollute water and air. Industrial processes to transform oil into plastic consume large amounts of energy, mainly from fossil fuels, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. In addition, plastic production emits other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide, further aggravating the impact on climate change.

These products are moved by trucks, ships or airplanes, generating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The distance traveled from the production site to the hotel is crucial, as the greater the distance, the greater the carbon footprint. Long-distance transportation, especially by air, increases the environmental impact. Hotels that import amenities from distant countries face a higher carbon footprint in this respect, and overall, transportation can represent a significant proportion of the hotel's total footprint.

Disposal of single doses presents significant environmental challenges. Most of these products end up in landfills, where theytake hundreds of years to decompose and release methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) with a climate impact 25 times greater than CO2. Incineration of plastic is also problematic, as it generates GHG emissions and harmful pollutants, such as dioxins and furans, which affect human health and the environment.

2. Reduction of waste generation

Every year, millions of single-dose amenities, mainly plastic, end up in landfills or incinerators, with a devastating environmental impact. This waste takes hundreds of years to decompose, contaminating soil, water and air.

Sustainable alternatives, such as biodegradable or compostable products, can help to significantly reduce the amount of waste generated by hotels:

Biodegradable products:

  • Natural decomposition. They decompose into organic matter by the action of microorganisms, without contaminating the environment.
  • Reduced carbon footprint. They do not release methane, a greenhouse gas with a high climate impact, during decomposition.
  • Healthier ecosystems. The organic matter resulting from the decomposition of biodegradable products nourishes the soil and improves the health of ecosystems.

Compostable products:

  • Composting. They can be converted into natural compost through a composting process, which allows them to be reused as fertilizer for plants.
  • Waste reduction. They help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills or incinerators.
  • Sustainable agriculture. Composting organic products improves soil quality and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers in agriculture.

3. Improvement of the hotel's image

Today's travelers are looking for options aligned with their environmental values, being aware of the impact of tourism on the planet. By offering sustainable amenities, the hotel demonstrates its commitment to environmental responsibility, generating positive perceptions among guests and fostering greater satisfaction during their stay. This approach also promotes loyalty, as guests who share the hotel's values are more likely to return.

In addition, the marketing and communication strategy reinforces the hotel's image, highlighting sustainable practices on the website, social media and in-room information materials. This effort contributes to differentiation in a competitive market, positioning the hotel as a benchmark in sustainability and providing it with a competitive advantage. 

4. Economic savings

Although the initial investment may be higher when adopting sustainable practices, operating costs over time decrease significantly. Products such as refillable dispensers and bulk amenities have a longer shelf life, reducing the need for frequent replenishment and, therefore, associated costs.

As mentioned above, opting for more sustainable alternatives reduces dependence on non-renewable resources, reducing the costs associated with the extraction, production and transportation of raw materials.

In many places, the adoption of sustainable practices is aligned with environmental regulations and standards. Complying with these standards can avoid fines and penalties, which indirectly contributes to financial savings for the hotel.

5. Differentiation opportunity

In a highly competitive market, offering sustainable amenities can be a way to differentiate yourself from the competition and attract a more environmentally conscious audience.

Effectively communicating the hotel' s commitment to sustainability through its website, social media and in-room information materials establishes a direct connection with guests who value environmental responsibility.

Transparency in communication not only reinforces the hotel's image as a responsible entity, but also builds a relationship of trust with guests. In addition, providing in-room informational materials, such as brochures or signage, allows guests to learn about the specific measures the hotel is taking to be more sustainable during their stay.

Ultimately, switching from single-dose amenities to more sustainable alternatives is a strategic decision that benefits the hotel, the planet and the guests.

It is an investment in the future that reduces environmental impact, improves the hotel's image, saves costs and differentiates the hotel from the competition.

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