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Sustainable Housekeeping. Autumn Tasks to reduce Carbon.

In housekeeping it’s that time of year when we start to audit, stocktake, deep clean, close down, refurbish and get ready for winter.

After a summer of extreme weather and hottest September on record guests are becoming much more aware of our approach to sustainability so we need to really think about how we reduce carbon ….?

The first thing I recommend Head Housekeepers do right now is to check your budgets and see what you have left. Make a plan for any team hours, training or equipment funds that are still available. It’s also CAPEX time, so a good time to think about making sustainable purchase plans for next year.

Reducing energy use is the single biggest carbon reduction we can make in our hotels.

Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and public areas, turning down heating in off line and unoccupied rooms.

Check all your curtains close properly and will stop drafts. Also check that radiators are not covered by curtains. Check all radiator thermostats are working and your team knows what they should be set at.  Leave heating as low as possible before guests check in so as not to be heating empty rooms. Check heated towel rails are working. Consider adding useable blanket to rooms.

When you audit think about sustainability.  Add a section for single use items.  Then make a plan to reduce/remove as many of the items as you can. If you haven’t already Changed from single use bathroom amenities to bulk it should be on your list to plan for.

Discuss other more sustainable options such as removing tea trays and fridges completely. Instead have drinks machines, water stations and pantries on corridors or upgrade room service to make ordering hot drinks the norm. The Scarlet in Cornwall do this beautifully.

You also need to audit your Vacuums, carpet cleaners and other cleaning equipment.  Regular cleaning and maintenance will prolong the life of equipment. If replacing broken equipment choose the most energy efficient systems available. Consider going chemical free by using steam, non chemical and microfibre technology’s to reduce the need for harmful substances. Before sending old machines to landfill see if there are repair cafes locally who will take them for repairs or parts.

Talking of chemicals, are you using a recognised eco brand? And and are your team using them effectively? Are you getting chemicals in power or super concentrated form? The moving of lots of water increases the carbon footprint of the chemicals you are using. Remember, every chemical you purchase is entering the water system somewhere!

When we audit we decide if things are ‘good enough for guests’ and often they may not be good enough for guests but they are still functional enough for use.

10000 of items are sent to landfill from hotels and holiday parks every year. Mattress, bedding, fridges, microwaves, crockery, cutlery and soft furnishings that that could be used by homeless shelters, home start, or other charities or by animal sanctuaries end up in landfill.

Also Look at ways to help guests separate waste for recycling.

When replacing items make sustainable choices, consider the lifecycle of whatever you are buying. What is its carbon footprint? How will you get rid of it at the end of its useful to You life? Choose the most energy efficient cleaning equipment, hairdryer, irons, kettles fridges, Microwaves, TVs.

So much energy is wasted through the unnecessary washing of sheets and towels. A guest staying mon-fri doesn’t need a linen change. And single occupancy rooms only need 1 set of towels! Speak to your laundry about there carbon reduction commitments and use of green energy. If you launder in-house it may be worth seeking professional advice regarding energy and chemical use

Consider Carbon Literacy for your team. Training hotel teams in Carbon Literacy is essential if you are committed to creating a culture of sustainability, reducing carbon emissions, attracting environmentally conscious guests, and achieving cost savings.

For more information check out my Carbon Literacy for Hotels course.

As housekeepers can cut costs and save carbon just by changing some simple things about the way we work.



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