Four Impactful Ways For Hotels To Embrace Sustainability

Commercial Zone Blog

November 9, 2021

Four Impactful Ways For Hotels To Embrace Sustainability

Both domestic and international travelers alike are becoming more environmentally conscious. From better recycling habits to less fuel and water consumption, travelers are growing increasingly concerned about their environmental footprint.

A recent study from Accenture found that 86% of travelers want to travel more sustainably, and that’s changing the qualities they look for in a hotel. In a survey of 72,000 Hilton guests, 33% said they prefer hotels with environmental and social programs. For guests younger than 25, that number soared to 44%.

Hotels are hearing that message. Boutique brands like Six Senses and 1 Hotels have differentiated themselves by promising not only comfort but sustainability, and many of the world’s largest chains are following suit. Marriott International, which manages the second largest number of properties in the world, recently announced it intends to go net zero by 2050.

Travelers are also able to tell which hotels are truly committed to sustainability and which ones are just paying lip service. “The hotel guest really pays attention to the sustainability of the hotels and we see that when they make a choice for the hotel booking,” said Erwin Jager, Chairman of Barrows Hotel Enterprise. That means hotels need to make real investments in sustainability if they want to continue to attract younger and more environmentally aware customers.

But the good news is that these investments in sustainability can pay for themselves — not only in energy savings but in revenue, since guests are increasingly willing to pay more for rooms and facilities that are more sustainable.


Here are four ways hotels can show they’re serious about sustainability:


1. Reduce water consumption

Reducing water pressure in showers, harvesting rainwater, installing leak-detecting systems and low-flow faucets can save enormous volumes of water, and water-efficient bathrooms alone can reduce water usage by 15%. Linen and towel reuse programs make a big difference, too. Installing additional towel racks in bathrooms makes it easier for guests to reuse towels, especially when they’re paired with a sign that encourages towel reuse.


2. Save paper and plastic by going digital

Technology like keyless room entry and guest messaging platforms aren’t just convenient. They save a lot of paper. A single hotel guest leaves behind about two pounds of waste per night, according to one report, and much of that comes from paper and plastic. Digital guest room tablets eliminate the need for paper menus, directories and flyers, while making it easier for guests to book room service or spa appointments.


3. Reduce food waste

A hotel is only as green as its kitchen. Hotel kitchens waste as much as 15% of the food they handle, and almost all of that avoidable waste occurs before the food leaves the kitchen. A simple food-waste awareness campaign can help employees prevent unnecessary waste, as can better tracking and management of inventory. Sourcing food locally and in-season can drastically reduce its footprint, too – some hoteliers are going so far as to grow their own food onsite. Others are increasing the proportion of plant-based offerings on their menus, since they have a smaller footprint than meat and dairy.


4. Encourage recycling

A recent survey by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) finds that 66% of Americans would not recycle a product if they find it inconvenient to do so. Hotel guests can’t use recycling bins if they can’t find them. Make recycling bins easier to spot by replacing old bins or bins with worn recycling symbols, and make sure you have enough of them. It’s especially important to add bins near elevator banks so that guests pass them often.

Commercial Zone has multiple lines of recycling bins that elegantly complement any hotel. Constructed of heavy-gauge steel, the Precision Series recycling bins have a sleek, modern appearance that’s made it a favorite at high-end hotels. The stylish ModTec Series, meanwhile, boasts an earthy, naturalistic design that reinforces a hotel’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

Learn more about the innovations available from Commercial Zone — which include more than 200 unique products in a wide variety of materials and finishes — at Or call 800-782-7273 to talk with a member of our team of trained experts, who can help you integrate them.