This part of the Travelife Standard is about the steps you are taking to reduce and minimise the environmental impacts of your business. You will also need to ensure that you are measuring and monitoring your impacts, setting improvement targets and regularly reporting on your performance.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you record energy consumption, either daily, weekly or monthly?

Do you record how much energy you use from ALL sources? (e.g. electricity, natural gas, LPG, heating oil etc.)

Do you record who supplies all your sources of energy?

Do you record how much energy you use in KWh (kilowatt hours)? (This is the total of electricity, gas, diesel and all other energy types)

Do you record how much energy is used in KWh for each guest night? (This is the total of electricity, gas, diesel and all other energy types)

Do you have records of the amount of energy used in previous years and are these available for someone to look at if needed?

Or

If this is the first year you have recorded energy use, do you now have a plan in place to record and compare this every year?

Do you give your guests information on how to save energy and encourage them to do so? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you give your employees information on how to save energy and encourage them to do so?

Do you have evidence to show that you research and consider low energy alternatives before buying or replacing electrical equipment?

Do you have evidence to show that all your energy installations (boilers, air conditioning etc.) are regularly maintained and serviced?

Do you use low energy technology for lighting in at least 50% of guest areas? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you have systems in place to make sure lights are switched off when not needed? (E.g. sensors, timing devices, switch-off policies etc.)

Do you use energy efficient electrical equipment where possible?

Do you use sensors, timers, written instructions or other controls to make sure equipment is used correctly and switched off when not in use?

If guest rooms do not have devices for automatically switching off heating and air conditioning, do you provide easily seen and clear information to tell guests to close windows and doors when using heating or air conditioning?

Can you show that your sub-contractors (people working onsite every day who are not employees) are reminded to save energy? (Not required for your first audit)

Energy includes any kind of fuel source that an accommodation provider uses to generate power.  It includes power for lighting, appliances, machines and vehicles. At Travelife we ask our hotels to consider the following:

The types of energy they use

Where they source energy from

What they use energy for

How much energy they consume

There are many different types of energy and just as many ways that each one can affect the environment.  Here we have summarised the main impacts that the accommodation sector can help to improve:

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gases are substances that trap energy from the sun and help keep Earth at the correct temperature for life to exist.  Energy, especially energy produced by fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas), is a major contributor of greenhouse gases.  Due to new technology and a dramatic increase in the world’s population, we are now creating too many of these gases.  This is causing the atmosphere to get too warm and we are already seeing signs of instability that is changing our climate in negative ways. Scientists and governments around the world are concerned with reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.

Pollution

The production and consumption of energy, especially things like oil, coal and petrol/gasoline contaminate the atmosphere and reduce air quality.  In some countries this is particularly bad and can create serious health issues.  There are other environmental impacts on biodiversity, air, soil and water quality that come from the improper disposal of the waste generated by energy production and supplying energy to the places where it is used via things like pipelines and shipping.

Resource management

Earth has a finite supply of fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas.  We are using so much of it that there is a risk that it will run out meaning that future generations will have limited energy sources.  Many scientists and governments agree that we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by switching to renewable energy sources.  However, even these can have an impact on the availability and quality of natural resources if they are not managed in a sustainable way.  For example, if hydropower plants are not properly managed they can disrupt natural flows, ecosystems and human access to fresh water.

HOW CAN THE ACCOMMODATION SECTOR HELP?

Travelife Certification helps your business minimise the impact of the energy you use by focusing on reducing the amount of energy your business consumes.

We have provided tools and resources to help you manage this and we encourage you to use them and to share them with your staff.  The best news is that by reducing your energy consumption you will be reducing your operating costs too.

Travelife expects Certified Members to identify all of the types of energy they use and where each type is sourced.  This helps you decide where you can make improvements to your energy consumption.  To begin you will need to understand some of the more common terms used that we have outlined below.  We have produced a much larger list at the end of this document that explains all of the common terms that we use as well as the different energy types and sources that accommodation providers might work with.

ENERGY TYPE OR FUEL TYPE

What kind of energy it is.  Here are some of the more common types of energy used by accommodation providers:

Electricity Natural gas  |  Diesel |  LPG (propane, butane)  |  Kerosene  |  Petroleum/gasoline  |  Wood  |  Coal

ENERGY SOURCE OR FUEL SOURCE

Where you get the energy.  Here are some of the more common types of energy sources used by accommodation providers:

Energy Type:  Mains electricity

Common Sources:  External private or public supplier  |  Solar panels installed at the property

Energy Type:  Mains gas (natural gas)

Common Sources:  External private or public supplier

Energy Type:  Diesel | Oil | Petrol/gasoline | LPG/autogas (for vehicles)

Common Sources: Delivered by an external supplier | Purchased from a local fuelling station

Energy Type: LPG | Butane | Propane | Kerosene | Coal

Common Sources: Delivered by an external supplier | Purchased from a local fuelling station | Purchased from a wholesaler, supermarket or other type of retailer

Energy Type: Wood (including charcoal)

Common Sources: Delivered by an external supplier | Purchased from a wholesaler, supermarket or other type of retailer | Foraged/collected from your property

SOURCES USED BY YOUR EXTERNAL SUPPLIERS

The source of energy that your supplier uses to generate electricity can significantly change your environmental impact.  For example, a supplier that generates electricity from coal is going to result in you having significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions than one who uses nuclear or hydro energy.  In some destinations, suppliers use a combination of energy sources.

We recommend that you find this information and you can usually get it from your supplier, local government or by doing some online research.  If you are lucky enough to be in a destination that has a choice of suppliers, we recommend you research these and consider switching to one that uses lower emission sources.  If a lower emission supplier is available, then it is recommended that you put plans in place to make that change over the next few years.

Once you have established all of the fuel types you use and where they come from, you will need to measure your energy consumption.  This is the best way to make decisions about how to improve and the only way to measure your progress.  All Travelife Certified Members must record their energy consumption in kilowatt-hours.  Once you learn how to do this, it is reasonably easy to calculate your greenhouse gas emissions so we have provided guidance below.

KILOWATT (kWh) HOURS

Travelife requires that you record how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) you have used for each energy type you consume.  You will need to do this on a regular basis and over the same time period, such as once per week or once per month.  How often you record this will depend on things like the size of your property, and we know of hotels that take measurements daily.  However, we recommend that any type of business updates their records at least once per month.  Here is a process we recommend you follow and we have assumed that the records are being updated monthly.

  1. Collect information on your total actual guest nights for the whole month.
  2. Collect information on how much energy you have used from each energy type during the same time period.
  3. Mains electricity will be in kWh and taken directly from your meter or your electricity bill.
  4. Natural gas is usually in kWh but could be in cubic metres (m3) or cubic feet (f3). Readings can come directly from your meter or your gas bill.
  5. You can use purchase records, manually updated records or counts of empty containers to get accurate estimates of your consumption of other fuel types. For example, vehicle mileage records compared to average litres or gallons consumed per mile, how many propane tanks were replaced or how many bags of coal were used. For example, if your stores had 10 x 6kg bottles of propane on 30th June and there are only four left on 31st July, then you consumed 6 x 6kg bottles of propane, meaning that your total propane consumption in July was 36kg.
  6. Convert the energy consumed into kWh using a reliable conversion number for each fuel type. You can get these from your suppliers or online.  If that is not possible then you can use conversion numbers provided by Travelife for the most common energy types.  You can view them in the Member Zone and note that you will need to first convert any non-metric measurements to the metric equivalent.  For example, cubic feet to cubic metres.
  7. Create a document where you can record all of this information and update it each month so you can track your performance. You will find a template with some examples in the Member Zone.
  8. In this document you must record the total kWh for each energy source in the month
  9. Add up the kWh of each energy source to get the total energy consumption for the month.
  10. Divide your total energy consumption by your total actual guest nights. This is your average kWh per guest night figure and you should be setting targets to reduce that number.

Guest night calculation example

ABC Hotel had 7,200 actual guest nights in July 2019 and their total energy consumption for the month was 80,000 kWh.  ABC Hotel should use this calculation to establish their average energy consumption per guest night:

Total energy consumption of 80,000 kWh ÷ 7,200 guest nights = 11.11 kwh per guest night in July 2019.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS (CO2e)

‘Carbon dioxide equivalent emissions’ is the scientifically correct way to refer to a measurement that compares the different greenhouse gases that contribute to the warming of our atmosphere.  To make things a bit easier to understand we normally shorten this to ‘carbon emissions’ or ‘CO2e’.

This is not currently a Travelife requirement but we recommend that you get used to converting your total kWh to CO2e.  Not only is this an easier measurement for guests and staff to recognise due to extensive use of the term ‘carbon emissions’, but it is likely that Travelife will add this as a requirement over the next few years so it would be a good idea to get used to it!

The CO2e produced from a mains supply can vary a lot by region and supplier so it is very important that you use a reliable unit conversion number.  For example, if your supplier primarily uses coal to produce energy then the emissions will be a lot higher than a supplier who primarily uses hydropower.  You have three options for finding an accurate conversion number:

  1. Ask your energy supplier for the conversion rate.
  2. Use a reputable online CO2e calculator that is specific to your country or region. These are often provided by national or local government, industry groups (such as an energy association) or environmental organisations.
  3. Look online for a conversion rate that is specific to the energy sources in your country or region.

For all other energy types/sources, such as diesel, LPG and petrol/gasoline, you can try the same options that are listed above but it is acceptable to use a more general number from outside your destination that can be found in numerous places online.  Travelife has produced a table giving CO2e conversion numbers from a UK government source that you can use.  You can find our conversion numbers in the Member Zone.

We have also added a place to record CO2e on our energy use template along with instructions on how to make the calculation.  You can view this template in the Member Zone.

How to convert energy used to CO2e

  1. Take the total amount of energy from a certain energy type in a month. g. You used two litres of diesel in April.
  2. Find the right CO2e conversion factor (in this case 2.68779).
  3. Multiply the amount of energy used by the conversion factor. g. 2 litres of diesel x 2.68779 = 5.37558 kgCO2e.
  4. That means that 5.37 kg of greenhouse gas emissions was produced by your diesel consumption in April.

Example calculation:

2l (of diesel) x 2.68779 = 5.37558 kgCO2e

Once you have calculated the emissions from all of your energy types, you can add them up to get your total greenhouse gas emissions from energy.  You can then add your energy and waste emissions to get an overall total.

Once you have records of how much energy you are consuming, you should set targets and goals to reduce your consumption.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.  Ideally, you should have at least one short-term and one long-term target.  Here are some examples:

Reduce your average energy consumption from 30 kWh per guest night to 24 kWh per guest night by the end of 2020.

Reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by the end of 2030.

Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.  You should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples:

Replace all fluorescent light bulbs with LED bulbs by the end of 2019.

Have 80% of our energy come from renewable sources by 2030.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  That means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your operations each year to look for ways to improve your energy consumption.

Use your consumption records to compare your performance to previous years.

Review your progress with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include the appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

The energy assessment

This should assess all areas of energy consumption that are relevant to your property.  They are likely to include:

Lighting

Water heating

Air temperature heating and/or cooling

Ventilation

Laundry

Kitchen appliances

Swimming pools and spas

Water treatment installations

As you assess each area you should ask the following questions:

Have you reduced energy consumption since your last report?

You will need to compare your records and show what (if any) savings you have made.  You should try to identify what worked well and what did not, and use this to make recommendations for the steps you should take in the next year.

What contribution is the area of consumption making to your overall energy use?

Try to be as accurate as possible in terms of calculating the kilowatt-hours (kWh), cost and/or carbon emissions (kg CO2e) for each area.  Sometimes you will have to use estimates.  The purpose of this is to show you what areas you should focus on to achieve reductions.

What is currently being done to reduce energy consumption?

You should list the things you are currently doing to control use in each area and try to assess how well they are working.  For example, automatic key card activation or regular checks that pipes are well insulated.

Are there ways to further reduce energy consumption?

For example, are you using the latest technology?  Are guests and staff being told about ways to reduce use?  Is equipment being properly maintained?

What short and long-term improvements could you make?

This will help you plan for making further reductions in your energy consumption.  You should group these into short-term and long-term initiatives, along with ones that are low cost and ones requiring a bigger investment.  For example, a short-term/low-cost improvement could be replacing neon bulbs with LED bulbs.  A long-term/higher investment improvement could be installing light sensors in all hallways.

We have provided some explanations to help you and your staff understand some of the more common terms used when discussing energy management in accommodation.  We have tried to keep them short and simple, so for scientific explanations or a more detailed understanding, you will need to conduct your own research.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RENEWABLE, NON-RENEWABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

Renewable energy: This comes from natural sources that are either in unlimited supply (wind, sunshine) or those that are in abundant supply and/or are naturally regenerated (water, geothermal).  In other words, the planet is not likely to run out of these sources.  They also have a lower environmental impact on the atmosphere because they release fewer gases that can heat up the atmosphere and are cleaner due to less pollution.  There is still an environmental cost in terms of producing this energy and getting it to homes and businesses, but the impact is significantly lower than other energy sources.

Non-renewable energy: This comes from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.  The planet has a finite supply of fossil fuels and because the population of the world is growing along with use of technology that consumes energy (e.g. cars, planes), there is concern amongst energy companies, governments and scientists that we need to reduce our use and reliance on fossil fuel.  The production and use of fossil fuels is a big contributor to air pollution (e.g. car exhaust fumes) and they release gases that warm up the atmosphere a lot more than any other energy source.

Clean energy: This is energy that does not generate any harmful pollution.  Most renewable energies are also clean, but there can be exceptions that normally come from the way the energy is produced.  Nuclear energy is also considered to be clean as it does not produce air pollution.  Generally, any energy that does not involve coal or oil is a cleaner option.

TYPES AND SOURCES OF ELECTRICITY

Electricity or mains electricity: This is energy that comes from an external supplier or that is produced on your own property using things like solar panels and wind turbines.  Put simply, it is the electricity used when you switch on a light or a piece of equipment that is connected to the electrical circuits at your property.

Natural gas: This is a fossil fuel that generates electricity. If gas is supplied directly to your property, it usually comes through a mains supply and is provided by an external supplier.  It is not renewable but it does produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than oil or petroleum.

Nuclear energy: There is some debate about whether nuclear power is renewable or non-renewable.  The process of creating nuclear energy is renewable but the products used to make it are not.  Nuclear energy produces fewer emissions that pollute and heat up the atmosphere.  However, the process of creating nuclear energy generates radioactive waste and if it is not managed properly it can be devastating to people and the environment for many years.  There are strict national and international regulations in place to prevent this.

Coal: Coal can be used by energy companies to generate mains electricity and it can be purchased directly by a business to be burned for heating and cooking.  Coal is not renewable and is a significant contributor to air pollution.

Solar energy or solar power: This is generated by panels that absorb energy from the sun and convert it to electricity.  Some destinations have solar farms that produce energy for electricity companies.  Many private homes and businesses use solar power to supply all of their electricity or to supplement an external supply.  Another common use for solar energy is smaller outdoor fixtures like lights and irrigation timers.  It is completely renewable.

Wind power: Turbines are used to generate energy from wind. Some destinations have wind farms that produce energy for electricity companies.  Many private homes and businesses use smaller wind turbines to supplement their electricity supply.  It is completely renewable.

Hydropower: Dams are used to generate electricity from the flow of water that is then used on a mains electricity supply.  It is a renewable energy because Earth continually produces water.  However, often we consume more water than is available either due to droughts or due to rapid population increases.  That can affect the efficiency of hydroelectricity at certain times.

Geothermal power: Electricity is produced using thermal energy generated from heat below the Earth’s surface that is used for a mains electricity supply.  It is a renewable energy because the amount of energy used is tiny compared to the heat our planet contains.  In some destinations it is possible for businesses to directly source some geothermal energy to supplement their overall energy supply and consumption.   The most obvious example is using natural hot springs instead of a jacuzzi!

OTHER TYPES OF ENERGY

Fuel vs energy:  Fuel is what is used to create energy.  For example, petrol/gasoline is a fuel that creates energy to operate a car.

LPG or liquefied petroleum gas: This is gas in a liquid form and this term can be used to describe both butane and propane gas.  It can be used to fuel vehicles and in this context it is also known as ‘autogas’ in some countries.  It is mainly produced from fossil fuels and is non-renewable.  However, it generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petrol/gasoline or diesel.

Butane: A liquid gas that accommodation providers often use to fuel portable heaters and it can also be used as a refrigerant.  It is a non-renewable source made from natural gas (a fossil fuel).

Propane: A liquid gas that is commonly used to fuel outdoor cooking (barbeques) and heating.  It is also used to provide cooking and heating for buildings that are not connected to a mains gas or electricity supply.  It is a fossil fuel and a non-renewable energy source.

Biofuels, biodiesel and bioethanol: To keep things simple we have grouped these together as fuels that are made from renewable biological processes rather than non-renewable fossil fuels.  They are already being used in many countries to replace or supplement 100% mineral fuel sources (fuels made entirely from fossil fuels) like diesel and petrol/gasoline.  They produce significantly fewer greenhouse gases and pollutants than 100% mineral fuels.

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENTS

We have focused on the measurements we use at Travelife.  There are many more that you can research online such as ‘Btu’ and ‘Mcf’ that can be used to measure gas consumption.

Kilowatt-hours or kWh:  A common way to measure electricity consumption, especially from a mains supply.  Most electricity meters and bills show use in kWh.  Other fuel sources such as diesel, oil and LPG are usually purchased in litres, cubic metres, gallons or cubic feet. In order to measure total energy consumption from these fuel sources, they need to be converted to kWh so they can be directly compared to your mains electricity consumption.

Carbon emissions (CO2) vs carbon equivalent emissions (CO2e):  This is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.  In terms of energy it refers to the carbon dioxide generated by electricity and other fuels types.  Whilst carbon dioxide is one of the leading contributors to global warming, it is just one of several greenhouse gases.  Another leading contributor to global warming is methane that comes from many sources.  One major source is the production and disposal of food.

Because the accommodation sector consumes a lot of food and produces a lot of food waste compared to many other industries, Travelife thinks it is important to measure success by looking at the greenhouse gas emissions produced by energy and food.  Therefore, we use the carbon equivalent emissions (CO2e) that factor in all greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide.

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español

The two main things that you can do to reduce your operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions from energy are:

  1. Reduce your energy consumption
  2. Switch to renewable energy sources

The first is easy to get started with and there are many things you can do that are no or low cost, yet very effective.  The second might be more challenging depending on your circumstances, but is still achievable for most businesses.  We have provided some ideas below to get you started.

QUICK FIXES

These are all either low cost, no cost or low effort.

General lighting

LED lights are always more efficient and better for the environment than halogen or fluorescent bulbs. As you replace light bulbs, source only LED options.

Using different types and makes of lighting on the same circuit reduces efficiency and the life span of bulbs, so always use the same brand and technology on one circuit. Even using LED bulbs from different manufacturers can interfere with lighting efficiency.

If you have vending machines, you might find they have unnecessary lights that can be turned off or removed. Depending on what model your machines are, these can draw a lot of power and emit heat that causes any refrigeration unit to work harder in order to keep food and drinks cool.

General temperature control

Check your hot water temperatures to ensure they are at the correct setting for health and safety (e.g. prevention of legionnaires disease) yet not hotter than necessary.

The majority of people find a room temperature of 20 degrees to be comfortable but this can vary by a few degrees depending on climate. Make sure that thermostats in central areas are set correctly and take measures to ensure doors and windows are kept closed to maintain the right temperature. Ask housekeeping to check this is the setting in guest rooms and consider putting a notice next to the control unit letting guests know that this is the most comfortable temperature.

Equipment maintenance

Ensure that external air conditioning units and solar panels are regularly cleaned so that they are running efficiently. In big cities, dry climates or places that are especially dusty or sandy, you should be doing this often.  Think about how quickly a car in your destination gets dirty and dusty.  This gives you an indication of how quickly your external units and solar panels will be becoming less efficient and how often they will need cleaning.

Add a regular check of solar panels for leaks to your maintenance schedule. They are often overlooked due to rooftop locations and can quickly become inefficient if not properly maintained.

Ensure all equipment and machinery (fridges, air-conditioning units, lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners and so on) is regularly and properly serviced to ensure they are running optimally.


AUDIT STORY

A Travelife auditor once visited the roof of a large hotel to check the solar panels.  Four out of 12 were not working.  The general manager later discovered that they had been broken for six months but nobody had been on the roof during that whole time to check them.  This had a serious impact on their energy bills that could have easily been avoided.

 

Using equipment efficiently

Walk through your entire property (including outdoor areas and a selection of guest rooms) and assess all of your lighting and equipment to see if it is needed, if it is needed during the day or during all seasons, if there is a better way to switch it off when not in use and if you can replace it with a more efficient option.

Shut down computers when they are not in use. Older models in particular use a lot of energy so should be replaced with newer ones whenever possible, in the meantime you can help older ones run more efficiently by gently vacuuming the fan vents to remove dust build-up that causes the internal fans to run more than necessary.

Train your staff to use equipment in the most efficient way possible. Consider things like the optimal load in a washing machine, the correct heat setting on a dryer, the best temperature setting in a fridge or the optimal power level of a vacuum cleaner.

Spend some time looking for ways to reduce the amount of vehicle transfers taken. For example, have you given guests the option to reduce their carbon footprint by sharing an airport transfer with other guests arriving on the same flight rather than automatically providing several private ones?  If your destination has a reliable and easy airport bus service, are you doing enough to promote this to guests as an option?

Procurement

When replacing equipment, always buy the most modern and efficient alternative.

If your destination has more than one energy supplier, check to see if you can switch to one that uses more renewable energy and/or has made sound environmental commitments.

Review the items that are being shipped to your property over long distances and check for options to source them locally or from a supplier with a lower environmental impact. For example, a supplier using rail freight may have a lower carbon footprint than one using road freight.

Guest rooms

If you have outdoor balcony or patio lights that guests can switch on and off, have housekeeping check that these are switched off during the day when they service the room.

Are guest fridges turned on even when there is nothing in them? Could you keep them off and either have housekeeping turn them on before a guest checks in or put a small sign showing guests where to turn it on should they decide to use the fridge?

If you are in a destination with high temperatures, be sure that guest fridges are not stocked with very warm drinks that may have been heated in the sun during storage or the restocking process. This causes fridges to use a lot of energy in order to cool the drinks, so see if there is a way to ensure they are at room temperature first.

If fridges are in an enclosed space (e.g. a cupboard) without good air circulation, they will constantly use more energy to try to regulate the internal temperature. This will be expelled as hot air from the fridge’s fan and interferes with the overall room temperature.  Either move them out of such places or have holes drilled in the top and bottom of the enclosure to get more air circulating.

Implement a towel and linen reuse programme and regularly check that housekeeping are following it.

Consider only changing towels and sheets every four days during a guest’s stay. If you are concerned about guest complaints, you can simply inform them that they can request fresh towels or a linen change whenever they wish.

Consider whether you are putting more towels in guest rooms than are needed. If the maximum room occupancy is two, then put only that number of towels out and either let guests know that they can request more or put extra towels in a different place, such as a wardrobe, so it is easy for housekeeping to see they are unused and therefore do not need replacing.

If you use key cards to activate power in guest rooms, you may have ones that a guest can override by putting any type of card in the slot. This means they can still leave on lights and air conditioning when they are not in the room.  It might help if you only give one key card per room, only offering a second one on request and put a note next to the key card slot reminding guests of the importance of turning things off when they leave the room.

Put small signs next to air-conditioning/heating control units that remind people to turn off the unit when doors or windows are open. You could use a graphic rather than words to save you translating this into multiple languages. Alternatively, you could install sensors on the doors and windows that automatically turn off air conditioning when they are open.

Put information in rooms reminding guests about ways to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving energy during their stay.

Central guest facilities

Ensure that staff are trained to backwash pool filters for the correct amount of time. It is common to find that backwashing is running for much longer than necessary and this has a high energy impact.

Does your heated swimming pool need to be heated all year? Can it be set to a lower temperature?

Our auditors often find that saunas and steam rooms are running all day and into the evening, even though they are rarely being used. Consider turning them off outside peak times and/or reducing the temperature.

Are you leaving a jacuzzi running when nobody is using it?  You could turn it off during off-peak times or simply ensure guests can turn it on and off themselves, then train staff to regularly check it is turned off when not in use.

Do you leave televisions running all day in the gym? Consider switching them off outside peak periods and putting up a sign telling guests to call the front desk if they want a staff member to switch it on.

Are guests using more towels than necessary in the spa, gym or the pool? If these areas are staffed it might be possible to issue individual towels or to remind guests via signage about the environmental impacts.

Kitchens

Ensure that fridges in your kitchens are regularly cleaned and defrosted. They should be clear through to the fan coil in order to be operating efficiently.  Ice build-up can lead to a lot of unnecessary energy consumption.

Instruct kitchen staff on the importance of always closing fridge and freezer doors. This is a very common problem and can have a major impact on energy consumption.

Regularly check the condition of plastic strip curtains in kitchens and quickly make any necessary repairs or replacements.

Avoid putting hot food and liquids into fridges or freezers. This has a drastic impact on the energy the equipment consumes in order to regulate the temperature.  It is better to get food and liquids close to room temperature first but always make sure you are not compromising health and safety guidelines.

Staff areas

Put signs or stickers in staff areas reminding them to switch off lights and equipment when not in use.

MODERATE COST AND EFFORT

Lighting

Replace all lighting with LED options using the lowest possible wattage. This can be done gradually but keep in mind that in order to comply with the Travelife standard at least 50% of lighting in guest areas must be energy efficient before your second audit.

Replace decorative outdoor lighting with solar powered options, leaving electric lighting for emergency lights and those required to stay on all night for health and safety reasons. In some areas you may be able to use motion sensors to guide people at night, rather than leaving lights on all the time.

Timers and sensors

Using timers and sensors to control lighting, air conditioning and equipment is an investment that will pay off over time in lower energy bills. You can start in back-of-house and central areas before investing in technology for guest rooms.

If you decide to install or replace an automatic key card activation system for guest room electricity, choose a system that is linked electronically to the unique room key. This will prevent guests from using other types of cards to override the system and thus leave the power on when they are not in the room.

General maintenance

Ensure that all internal and external pipes (both hot and cold) are properly insulated to prevent energy loss.

Insulate outdoor pipes that are exposed to sunlight with a material that is either white or reflective. This will prevent energy loss and lengthen the lifespan of the pipe.

Bird droppings can reduce the efficiency of solar panels so install anti-bird spikes or a similar solution that prevents birds from perching on or above panels.

Central guest facilities

Review the use of pumps and air jets to create bubbles and other types of water movement in jacuzzis and swimming pools. These can use a lot of energy and may not need to be on all the time.  Consider installing buttons so that guests and/or staff can easily turn these features on and off as required.

Consider using a liquid pool cover that not only reduces the loss of heat and water, but can also reduce the depletion of pool cleaning chemicals.

HIGHER INVESTMENT WITH LONG-TERM REWARDS

Install technology such as motion sensors and/or timers in guest rooms, central areas, outdoors and in your grounds to ensure that lighting and equipment is only used when needed. Do thorough research when sourcing the best solutions for your property to ensure you are using the most efficient technology that will have the highest impact for the longest amount of time.  Motion sensors generally work better than key cards to control energy use in guest rooms.

Replace older equipment with the latest most energy efficient technology and develop a plan and budget to continue doing this indefinitely. This applies to large equipment like air-conditioning units and restaurant fridges through to small items like kettles and coffee makers, but you should prioritise equipment that draws the most power or emits the most pollutants.

Install air curtains over entrances and large windows that are continually open to the outside in hot weather; this will trap cold air inside resulting in lower energy costs from regulating the room temperature.

Consider installing solar panels and other renewable energy solutions that best suit your property.

Spend time with architects and engineers to fully assess energy efficiency in new builds and refurbishments so that you can reap significant environmental and cost savings. For example, using the latest insulation in walls and ceilings could greatly reduce ongoing operating costs and carbon emissions.

Objective

Record your energy consumption from all sources on a regular basis so that you can monitor and report on your energy use.  We strongly recommend that you regularly use data to calculate your carbon emissions.

You need to monitor all of the different types of energy you use.  Your list should include the type of energy and what it is used for.  It should cover all of the following:

Electricity

Gas

Petrol and diesel

Other fuels such as wood, coal and kerosene

You need to be able to measure your use of each energy source so find out the best way to do this.  For example, your electricity bill will show the kilowatt-hours (kWh) you consumed, your purchasing records should show how many litres or gallons of petrol you purchased.  You will need to convert all sources into kWh before recording them using a correct calculation and there is a Travelife conversion table (English | Español | Ελληνικά).

Train relevant staff on when and how they should record your energy consumption from all sources (including how to convert into kWh) then create a spreadsheet where this will be recorded on a regular basis.  Your spreadsheet should include all of the following and there is a Travelife template (EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe):

The name of each energy source

The name of the supplier

Where possible, which part of your operation is consuming it

The amount that was consumed in kWh over a given date range

It is best practice to include a final conversion to total carbon equivalent emissions for the reporting period.

You might be asked to show this document during your audit so make sure all of the relevant people know where to find it.

Your internal sustainability report should include your energy use and compare it to the last report and the same time period in previous years.

Use this information to assess the following and write your conclusions in your internal report:

Are we reducing the amount of energy we are consuming?

Which parts of our operations are consuming the most energy?

What changes can we make to reduce our energy consumption?

Templates

Energy consumption report English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Tools

Travelife fuel to kWh conversion rates English | Español

Related Guides

Energy management  English | Español

Converting energy to kilowatt-hours English | Español

Converting energy to greenhouse gas emissions English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español | Ελληνικά

 

Objective

Convert the energy you used to kilowatt-hours (kWh) so that you can establish your total kilowatt-hours from all the types of energy you have used. 

Your mains electricity should already be recorded in kWh that you can find on a meter or on your bill.  Your mains gas is probably recorded this way too.  For all other types of energy you use that are not already recorded in kWh, you will need to convert them to kWh in order to comply with the Travelife Standard.  For most properties energy types will include: -

LPG (butane and propane)

Petrol/gasoline

Diesel

Kerosene

Solid fuels like coal or wood

Most energy is measured in litres (l), kilograms (kg) or cubic metres (m3).  Some destinations may be using gallons, feet or cubic feet and these will need to be converted to metric measurements if you want to use the Travelife conversion table (English | Español).  to view our conversion table.

* Not required if using your own rates or a calculator that accepts non-metric measurements.

Travelife have provided conversion numbers for some of the most common fuel types that our Members use.  View our conversion table here (English | Español| Ελληνικά).  If you have a different fuel source then you will need to go online to search for reliable numbers.

Multiply the amount of fuel you used by the conversion rate to get the kWh.    For example, if you used 2 litres of diesel and the conversion rate is 10.96 then this is the calculation:

(Diesel used) 2 litres x 10.96 (diesel conversion number) = 21.92kWh

Transfer the number to your energy usage report and remember to note the conversion number you used somewhere just in case a Travelife auditor wants to verify your calculations.

Templates

Energy consumption report English | Español

Tools

Travelife fuel to kWh conversion rates English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Related Guides

Energy management  English | Español

Recording and monitoring energy consumption English | Español

Converting energy to greenhouse gas emissions English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español| Ελληνικά

 

Objective

Convert the energy you used to carbon equivalent emissions (CO2e) so that you can establish the greenhouse gas emissions produced from your energy consumption.

The conversion numbers for mains electricity vary a lot by region because it depends on what kind of energy your suppliers are using to generate your electricity.  For example, electricity from coal has much higher emissions than nuclear energy.  Using the wrong number can drastically under or over-estimate your greenhouse gas emissions.  You have three options for finding an accurate conversion number: -

  1. Ask your energy supplier for the conversion rate. You might also find it on your bill.
  2. Use a reputable online CO2e calculator that is specific to your country or region. These are often provided by national or local government, industry groups (such as an energy association) or environmental organisations.
  3. Look online for a conversion rate that is specific to the energy sources in your country or region

You can use the Travelife conversion numbers for most other energy but you will need to have your measurements in metric units (litres, kilograms or cubic metres).  If your measurements are in gallons, feet or cubic feet then you will need to convert them to the equivalent metric measurement first.

*Not required if you are using a calculator that has non-metric options.

Travelife have provided conversion numbers for some of the most common fuel types that our Members use.  View our conversion table here (English | Español|Ελληνικά).  If you have a different fuel source then you will need to go online to search for reliable numbers.

Multiply the amount of fuel you used by the conversion rate to get the kilos of CO2e.  For example, if you used 2 litres of diesel and the conversion rate is 2.68779 then this is the calculation:

(Diesel used) 2 litres x 2.68779 (diesel conversion number) = 5.37kgCO2e (5 kilograms of CO2e)

Transfer the number to your energy usage report and remember to note the conversion number you used somewhere just in case a Travelife auditor wants to verify your calculations.

Templates

Energy consumption report English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Tools

Travelife fuel to kWh conversion rates English | Español

Related Guides

Energy management  English | Español

Recording and monitoring energy consumption English | Español

Converting energy to kilowatt-hours English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Templates

Energy Consumption Report English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Tools

Conversion numbers for kilowatt-hours and greenhouse gas emissions English | Español| Ελληνικά

Muy pronto esta sección estará disponible en español.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has information and advice about energy from a global perspective

European Union energy information and resources

The Travel Foundation have a variety of information and resources, many of which are global.

The Carbon Trust website contains a variety of energy resources for businesses including calculators and energy saving ideas

UK government 2018 greenhouse gas emission conversion numbers.  You can use these for fuel types that are not listed on the Travelife conversion table but you CANNOT use this for calculating emissions from mains electricity outside the UK.

HCMI (Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative) is a detailed carbon emissions tool.  It is for Travelife Members who are ready for complex analysis and reporting of their carbon footprint.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you record water consumption, either daily, weekly or monthly?

Do you identify all sources of water used?

Do you have evidence to show that all sources of waste water (including grey water) is treated, re-used or disposed of safely, without affecting the local population or environment?

Do you meet all local and national regulations regarding the disposal of waste water?

Do you record how much water is used, in litres or cubic metres?

Do you record how much water is used, in litres or cubic metres, for each guest night?

Do you have records of the amount of water used in previous years and are these available for someone to look at if needed?

Or

If this is the first year you have recorded water use, do you now have a plan in place to record and compare this every year?

Are all water installations and machinery (pipes/pumps/heating/cooling) operated correctly and are they without leaks?

Are all water installations and machinery (pipes/pumps/heating/cooling) maintained and serviced regularly?

Do you regularly remind your employees to save water through written instructions?

Are guests given information about why it is important to save water and encouraged to do so with examples?

Can you show that the way you acquire water does not affect the local supply or local environment in any way? (Not Required for your first audit)

Do you have systems in place to avoid pollution of the surrounding area from contaminated waste water (such as flooding or contamination by chemicals or sewage)?

Do you have evidence to show that the water flow in guest and public areas is no more than:

Showers = 10l/min
Basins = 5l/min
Toilets = 6.5l per flush
Urinals = 2l per flush

Or

If this is the first year of working with Travelife, do you have a plan in place to make sure you do achieve them within the next 2 years?

Are you using technology and/or management systems (such as staff training, planned watering times etc.) to avoid wasting water when watering your gardens?

Do you operate your laundry in the best way possible to avoid wasting water? (Such as washing full loads, pre-treating stains and using friction balls)

Do you have a procedure in place to reduce the unnecessary washing of towels and bed linen?

Are your pools cleaned in a way which reduces water wastage? (Such as manual and mechanical processes, filtration maintenance etc.)

At Travelife we ask our hotels to consider the following:

Where they source their water

What they are using their water for

How much water they consume

How they dispose of their waste water

We look at each of these later in this guide but you might find it helpful to first learn about why good water management is so important.

WATER AS A RESOURCE AND A HAZARD

Although water is a natural and renewable resource, there are many reasons why it is considered precious as well as a potential environmental hazard.  These are some of the main reasons why water management is such an important part of sustainability:

Population growth: In many parts of the world, water supply cannot keep up with rapid population growth.

Urban expansion: Population growth over the years has led to millions of people living in areas that have always experienced low rainfall such as deserts and other arid zones.  There is a considerable environmental cost to bringing water to these cities and towns.

Climate events: Drought can affect most areas of the planet, sometimes for extremely prolonged periods and sometimes in regions that usually have enough rainfall.  Flooding can result in contamination of drinking water.

Energy use: There is almost always an energy cost associated with delivering water to people because it involves things like pumps and water purification systems.  Sometimes this energy cost can be very high.

Pollution: Waste water containing things like chemicals and sewerage can contaminate water supplies.  This can reduce access to safe water for humans, livestock and wildlife, as well as cause damage to ecosystems.

Biodiversity and erosion:  Water sourcing and waste water can interrupt natural environmental flows, often with lasting impacts on things like soil erosion and biodiversity.

HOW CAN THE ACCOMMODATION SECTOR HELP?

Travelife Certification helps your business improve your water management by focusing on three areas:

  1. Reducing the amount of water your business consumes
  2. Reducing the amount of harmful substances in your waste water (this is covered under Hazardous Substances)
  3. Responsibly managing your waste water

We have provided tools and resources to help you.  We encourage you to use them and to share them with your staff. The best news is that by reducing your water consumption you will be reducing your operating costs from both water and energy use.

You should record where all the water you use is sourced from, how you track consumption and what type of measurement is used.  For example, mains water might come from a local water company, you track consumption from your monthly water bill and it is measured in cubic metres or litres.  Or you might source your water from a well on your property, track usage by a meter and it is measured in cubic feet or gallons.  These are some of the more common ways that accommodation providers source water:

Mains water: This normally comes from a public or private company in the destination and is piped into the property. There is almost always an on-site meter that staff can use to record usage at any time, otherwise it will be provided on monthly bills.

Water wells: These are often on site and generally pipe water directly into the property, although in many cases it is filtered or treated first to make it safe for drinking.  A business is responsible for maintaining its well, for ensuring it is complying with all relevant laws, holds and uses the well within the terms of any necessary licences or permits, and ensures that it is not interfering with natural water flows or water availability at its destination.

Water boreholes: These are similar to wells except that the hole that is usually drilled directly into an underground reservoir, and the access point, is generally smaller.

Recycled grey water: This is waste water from things like hand basins, showers and laundries that is collected, treated and then reused for things like irrigation or toilet flushing.  Usually a business invests in its own grey water system as the investment pays off over time.

Recycled storm water: This involves diverting storm water drains or roof gutters to a place where the water can be reused.  Solutions for this can be very simple, such as diverting a roof drain to a large barrel that is connected to a hose for watering a garden or cleaning cars.  Or they can be very complex by diverting water to a treatment area then piping it back into the property for more general use.  In some places a permit is required for redirecting rain water.

Desalination: This involves removing salt and other impurities from seawater to make it suitable for general use and/or drinking. Most desalination systems use a reverse osmosis process, which allows water molecules to pass through a very fine membrane, but which prevents larger salt molecules from passing through. This system can use a lot of energy. The waste water from the desalination process has a lot of salt that must be safely disposed of to prevent environmental damage.  Licences and/or permits are often required to operate a desalination system.

COMPLYING WITH WATER SOURCES LAWS AND REGULATIONS

You will need to demonstrate that you know about, and are complying with, any local, national and international regulations that apply to the water you are sourcing and that your water consumption is not interfering with natural flows or restricting access to water in your community.

Travelife requires that you record the total amount of water you have used in either cubic metres (m3) or litres (l).  You will need to do this on a regular basis and over the same period of time, such as once per week or once per month.  How often you record this will depend on things like the size and complexity of your property.  However, in order to be Travelife Certified you will need to update your records at least once per month.  We have created a template with formulas that is available in the Member Zone.

If some or all of your water is measured in another unit, such as cubic feet or gallons, you will need to convert it into cubic metres or litres before you record the total amount used.  You can find conversion calculators online or use the conversion table that Travelife has provided in our water report template.

You need to record the total water consumed as well as the amount per actual guest night.  You can calculate this by dividing the total water used by the total actual guest nights (the actual number of guests that stayed, not the total possible guest occupancy).  For example, if you consumed 3,000 m3 in August and your total August guest nights was 300 the calculation would be:

Total water used in August is 3,000m3 ÷ 300 guest nights = 10m3 average water consumption per guest night

We have put formulas in the water report template that calculate this automatically for you, but please be aware that if you insert columns or rows into this template, it could cause the formulas to stop working.

You should record the sources of all waste water that your business produces, how it is disposed of and/or treated and the final destination.  These are the main types of waste water that accommodation providers produce:

Black water: This comes from toilets (sewerage), kitchen sinks and dishwashers.  This water usually ends up in the public sewer or a septic tank managed by the property.  Restaurant kitchens normally use grease traps to filter out fats and oils from waste water before it reaches the public sewer or septic tank.

Grey water: This is used water that does not contain sewerage.  It comes from places like hand basins, showers and the laundry.  It can be treated and reused for things like irrigation and toilet flushing.  If not, it normally goes either into the sewerage system or is treated on site.

Storm water: This is from rainfall or snowmelt that runs off your roof and over outside surfaces such as pathways and roads.  It is normally collected in gutters and pipes that lead to a storm water drain.  Usually, storm water drains lead back to the nearest body of water (river, stream, lake etc.) and sometimes this system is referred to as a storm sewer.  Some businesses collect storm water and use it for things like irrigation.

COMPLYING WITH WASTE WATER LAWS AND REGULATIONS

You will need to demonstrate that you know about, and are complying with, any local, national and international regulations that apply to how you manage your waste water and that it is not polluting the environment, interfering with natural flows or disrupting your community.

Once you have records of how much water you are consuming, you should set targets and goals to reduce your consumption.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.  Ideally, you should have at least one short-term and one long-term target.  Here are some examples:

Reduce your water consumption from 0.7m3 per guest night to 0.55m3 per guest night by the end of 2020.

Halve your current water consumption to 0.35m3 per guest night by the end of 2030.

 Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.  This should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples:

Install soil moisture sensors on all irrigation systems by the end of 2020.

Have 60% of our water provided by recycled grey water by 2030.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  That means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your operations each year to look for ways to improve your water consumption.

Use your consumption records to compare your performance to previous years.

Review how well you are doing with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include the appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

The water assessment

This should assess all areas of water consumption that are relevant to your property.  They are likely to include:

Guest rooms

Swimming pools and other water features

Laundry

Kitchen

Irrigation

Staff areas

As you assess each area you should ask the following questions:

Have you reduced water consumption since your last report?

You will need to compare your records and show what (if any) savings you have made.  You should try to identify what worked well and what did not, and use this to make recommendations of the steps you should take in the next year.

What contribution is the area of consumption making to your overall water use?

Try to be as accurate as you can in terms of calculating the litres or cubic metres (m3) and cost each area.  Sometimes you will have to use estimates.  The purpose of this is to show you what areas you should focus on to achieve reductions.

What is currently being done to reduce water consumption?

You should list the things you are currently doing to control use in each area and try to assess how well they are working.  For example, flow restrictors or regular checks for leaking pipes.

Are there ways to further reduce water consumption?

For example, are you using the latest technology?  Are guests and staff being told about ways to reduce use?  Is equipment being properly maintained?

What short and long-term improvements could you make?

This will help you plan for making further reductions in your water consumption.  You should group these into short-term and long-term initiatives, along with ones that are low cost and ones requiring a bigger investment.  For example, a short-term/low-cost improvement could be irrigating at night.  A long-term/higher investment improvement could be installing a grey water recycling system.

Templates

Travelife Water Consumption Report English | Español  | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Related Guides

Recording Water Consumption English | Español| Ελληνικά

Internal Sustainability Reports English | Español

Environmental Policy English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español

Click here to view this as a PDF  English | Español

The three main things that you can do to improve the environmental impacts of your water management:

  1. Reducing the amount of water your business consumes
  2. Reducing the amount of harmful substances in your waste water (this is covered under Hazardous Substances)
  3. Responsibly managing your waste water

There are many things you can do that are no or low cost, yet very effective.  We have provided some ideas below to get you started.

QUICK FIXES

These are all either low cost, no cost or low effort.

Guest rooms

Implement a towel and linen reuse programme and regularly check that housekeeping are following it.

Consider only changing towels and sheets every four days during a guest’s stay. If you are concerned about guest complaints you can simply inform them that they can request fresh towels or a linen change whenever they wish.

Consider whether you are putting more towels in guest rooms than are needed. If the maximum room occupancy is two, then put only that number of towels out and either let guests know that they can request more or put extra towels in a different place such as a wardrobe, so it is easy for housekeeping to see they are unused and therefore do not need replacing.

Add regular checks for leaking toilets to the housekeeping checklist and implement a system to ensure these are promptly reported to maintenance.

Put communications in guest rooms reminding them of how to save water.

WARNING!  TOWEL AND LINEN REUSE PROGRAMMES

One of the most common issues we find is that hotels are not following their own reuse programme.  Washing items unnecessarily is not only a waste of money and staff time, it also has a significant environmental impact from the consumption of energy, water and chemicals used in laundries.

Sometimes senior management do not know that the policy has not been followed until a Travelife auditor alerts them. 

We encourage all Travelife Members to implement and regularly check procedures that ensure that a guest’s wishes to have their items reused is respected, and that clean items are not being washed.

 

 Central guest areas

Are guests using more towels than necessary in the spa, gym or the pool? If these areas are staffed it might be possible to issue individual towels or to remind guests via signage about the environmental impacts.

If you provide a hose to rinse salt off scuba diving equipment or other items used in marine activities, consider instead providing a tank to dip the items into that is refilled as required. This will still remove salt from equipment and save a significant amount of water.

If you provide a sauna or steam room, assess when it is being used. You might be able to turn it off more often or reduce the temperature.

Are you leaving a jacuzzi running when nobody is using it? You could turn it off during off-peak times or simply ensure guests can turn it on themselves.

Frequently check pools for leaks, especially in drainage channels that can become blocked with debris and overflow.

Assess the swimming pool water level. If it is too low then the water cannot be cleaned properly, if it is too high you may be losing water over the edges.

Irrigation

Turn off irrigation when it rains and only turn it back on when the plants need water again.

Make sure any irrigation is going directly on to plants and not on to concrete or paving.

Irrigate when it is dark.

Bury irrigation pipes under a few centimetres of soil, mulch or similar, then have a schedule for regularly checking them for leaks and blockages.

Regularly check hoses and irrigation pipes for leaks. Poorly fitted hose connectors and corroded washers can also waste a lot of water.

Spend some time researching exactly how much water your plants need. You can do this with internet searches and many people find that plants need a lot less water than they think.

Train grounds staff on how to identify signs of overwatering and how to take corrective action.

General

Ensure all equipment and machinery (fridges, air-conditioning units and so on) is regularly and properly serviced to ensure they are running optimally and when replacing equipment, always buy the most modern and efficient alternative.

Train your staff to use equipment in the most efficient way possible. Consider things like the optimal load in a washing machine or dishwasher.

If your destination has more than one water supplier, check to see if you can switch to one that takes water conservation seriously.

Remind staff to always turn off taps if they will not be in use for more than a few seconds. Common examples are leaving hoses running while cleaning vehicles, leaving a tap running when cleaning a kitchen area or whilst washing hands.

Put signs or stickers in kitchens and staff bathrooms reminding them to save water and asking them to report any leaks they find.

Display a clear backwash procedure for cleaning swimming pool filters and make sure all relevant staff members are trained to ensure that filters are cleaned only when required and in an efficient manner. Ensuring that the backwash process is correct is a Travelife requirement.

Our auditors regularly find leaks in areas that go unnoticed for extended periods due to the difficult or hidden location of pipes. Consider adding a regular check of places such as underneath bathroom sinks, inside service ducts and cupboards.  Leaks not only waste water but can create more serious damage if left unchecked that leads to costly repairs and guest complaints.

AUDIT STORY

A Travelife hotel in Dominican Republic was having a serious long-term issue with mosquitos in guest rooms.  They tried various measures to control it with no success and guests were frequently complaining.  During a Travelife audit, an auditor discovered a leak inside a small service duct in the ceiling of one guest room.  The water had pooled to create a breeding area for mosquitos that were travelling through ducts into other guest rooms.  As soon as the leak was fixed the mosquitos disappeared for good!

 

MODERATE COST AND EFFORT

Consider using a liquid pool cover that not only reduces the loss of heat and water, but can also reduce the depletion of pool cleaning chemicals.

Install aerators and flow restrictors in all bathrooms to reduce water flow. It is important that you have both a procedure and budget for regularly checking and replacing these as they do corrode over time.  Remember that from your second audit onwards, the Travelife Standard requires that your water flow is less than 10 litres per minute in showers, 5 litres per minute in basins, 6.5 litres per toilet flush and 2 litres per urinal flush.

Installing water meters on things like irrigation systems and swimming pools is a reliable and cost-effective way to check for leaks. If you regularly record the readings and suddenly notice an increase, it is highly likely that you have a leak and can fix it quickly, thus preventing water waste and potentially a more costly repair.

HIGHER INVESTMENT WITH LONG TERM REWARDS

Install technology such as motion sensors and/or timers in guest rooms, central areas, outdoors and in your grounds to ensure that water-consuming equipment is only used when needed. Do thorough research when sourcing the best solutions for your property to ensure you are using the most efficient technology that will have the highest impact for the longest amount of time.

Replace older equipment with the latest most water-efficient technology and develop a plan and budget to continue doing this indefinitely.

Research options for reusing waste water, including any relevant legislation and permits you might require. This could include simple solutions like collecting rainwater in tanks and using it to wash vehicles or to water plants, or complex solutions that will pay off over time such as installing a permanent grey water recycling system.

Spend time with architects and engineers fully assessing resource efficiency in new builds and refurbishments so that you can reap significant environmental and cost savings. For example, it will take longer for hot water to reach bathrooms that are a long way from a water heating source.  This wastes water as guests run the tap or shower whilst waiting for hot water to come through.

Objective

Record the amount of water your property consumes at least once per month so that you can track your performance against your water reduction efforts and compare it to previous years.

Your water sources could include:

Mains water from an external supplier

Well or borehole water

Recycled grey water

Recycled storm water/rain water

Water from a desalination plant

Most properties have meters installed to measure all of their water sources or this information might be available on your supplier’s water bills.  The measurement units are likely to be:

Litres (l)

Cubic metres (m3)

Imperial gallons (gal)

US gallons (gal)

Cubic feet (ft3)

Use reliable conversion rates or a reliable online calculator to convert gallons to litres or cubic feet to cubic metres.

You will need to add up your total water consumption for each water source before adding it to your report.  You will use this number to calculate your average consumption per guest night.  Travelife has provided a template you can use (English | Español  | Ελληνικά  | Türkçe).

Each month you need to record your total water use from each water source in either litres or cubic metres (m3).  It is important that you only use one of these measurement units.

You can calculate this by dividing the total water used by the total actual guest nights (the actual number of guests that stayed, not the total possible guest occupancy).  For example, if you consumed 3,000 m3 in August and your total August guest nights was 300 the calculation would be:

3,000m3 ÷ 300 guest nights = 10m3 average water consumption per guest night

The Travelife template has formulas that calculate this for you (English | Español).  Please be careful if you insert columns or rows into the spreadsheet as this could affect the formulas.

Use your water consumption records to assess your performance against your target and goals, and to establish if the steps you are taking to reduce water use are working.  You should also use this information to think of ways to make further improvements, and to help you set new water consumption goals and targets.

Templates

Travelife Water Consumption Report English | Español  | Ελληνικά  | Türkçe

Related Guides

Detailed Guide to Water English | Español

Internal Sustainability Reports English | Español

Environmental Policy English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español | Ελληνικά

Muy pronto esta sección estará disponible en español.

Objective

Measure the flow of water in guest rooms and central bathrooms to ensure it meets the Travelife minimum requirements.

The requirements apply to guest room bathrooms and bathrooms in public areas.  They are:

The water flow in basins must be no more than 5 litres per minute.

The water flow in showers must be no more than 10 litres per minute.

Toilets must not use more than 6.5 litres per flush.

Urinals must not use more than 2 litres per flush.

If you are preparing for your first Travelife audit, then you must show that you have plans in place to achieve the above flow rates in the next two years.

The flow can change depending on the distance the water has to travel through your pipes.  For example, if you have  bathrooms over several different floors, take measurements on the lowest floor and the highest floor.

If you do not have a purpose-built tool, you can use this method:

  1. Use a timer on a stopwatch or smartphone along with a container to catch the water (such as a measuring jug) that has millimetre and/or litre measuring units.
  2. Turn on the cold water to full flow.
  3. Start the timer at the same time that you place the container under the flow.
  4. Catch water for exactly 10 seconds.
  5. Turn off the water and/or remove the container from the flow then measure how much water it contains in litres.
  6. Multiply the measurement by six to get the flow rate per minute.

Use the same method above but use a container big enough to contain the flow, such as a bucket, then accurately measure how much water is in the bucket.  Multiply that by six to get the flow rate per minute.

This can be difficult if tanks are contained behind bathroom walls or use another type of technology.  In those cases, we recommend you use your best estimate or talk to a technician or supplier about the best way to measure flow.  If the tank is accessible and you can switch off the water to it, this is a reliable method:

  1. Remove the tank cover and make a note of the water level.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the tank.
  3. Flush the toilet/urinal so that it is empty of water. It should not refill.

Use a measuring jug to refill the tank to the original water level, noting how many litres of water you have to use.  This is the amount of water you use per flush.

Download this guide as a PDF  English | Español| Ελληνικά

Templates

Water consumption report English | Español  | Ελληνικά  | Türkçe

Muy pronto esta sección estará disponible en español.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) have information and advice about water from a global perspective

European Union water information and resources

The Travel Foundation have a variety of information and resources, many of which are global.

EWS (European Water Stewardship) have a webpage containing links to various European and international water management resources

IWA (International Water Association) website contains information about global water issues and policy.

SPEI Global Drought Monitor is a world map showing current drought areas and regions at risk of drought.  It also shows historical records.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you separate waste according to local authority guidance?

If you serve food, do you monitor the amount of unused food you throw away? (This refers to food that has never been nor cannot be prepared because it has been spoiled or contaminated or is out of date) Click here to watch a short video that explains this.

If you serve food, do you have guidelines to make sure that you buy and serve the right amount of food to match your guest numbers, in order to avoid waste? (Such as appropriate size prepared and pre-portioned food packs)

Do you dispose of solid waste in a way which meets national and international legislation?

Do the people collecting your solid waste dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way?

Do you regularly train staff on how to separate recyclable waste?

Do you give your guests information on separating recyclable waste or re-using items (e.g. glasses or bottles), and do you encourage them to do so? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you keep invoices/receipts for each type of waste from the waste management companies and do you keep these for at least 3 years? (Not required for your first audit)

To avoid wasting food, do you have a system to make sure food is used before it is out of date and to use older products first?

Do you have sufficient and clearly labelled recycling bins available throughout the premises (front and back of house)? Do you tell your staff, guests and other visitors about them?

Do you try to reduce packaging from all purchased products, for example, by buying products in large single packages instead of several small packages?

Information about waste water can be found in our Water guidance and information about hazardous waste can be found in our Hazardous Substances guidance.

Good waste management offers many business and environmental benefits.  At Travelife we ask our hotels to consider the following:

The types of waste their business produces

Which areas of their business are producing the most waste

How they safely dispose of waste

How they can reduce waste production

We look at each of these later in this guide but you might find it helpful to first learn about the general impacts of waste.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

Waste comes in many forms and each has its own set of impacts on the environment.  Below, we have summarised the main impacts that the accommodation sector can help to improve:

Pollution

If waste is not properly disposed of it can have a range of damaging impacts on air, soil and water.  These can be damaging to the health and well-being of humans, animals and ecosystems.  For example, plastics that end up in the ocean enter the digestive systems of marine and bird life.  Batteries can have lasting damage to soil and water, whilst food can attract vermin.  Equipment like refrigerators that contain ozone-depleting substances are very harmful to the atmosphere if not safely disposed of.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gases are substances that trap energy from the sun and help keep Earth at the correct temperature for life to exist.  Due to new technology and a dramatic increase in the world’s population, we are now creating too many of these gases.  This is causing the atmosphere to get too warm and we are already seeing signs of instability that is changing our climate in negative ways.  Scientists and governments around the world are concerned with reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we produce.  Whilst all waste releases greenhouse gases, food is a leading contributor.

Resource management

In addition to polluting natural resources, it is important to consider wasted resources when products are produced and shipped to consumers unnecessarily, either because an item spoils before it can be used or just because it was never really needed in the first place.  For example, a recent UK study by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers estimated that it takes around 200 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of tomatoes and 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef.  The same study estimated that between 30% and 50% of the food produced is never consumed, with most of it ending up as waste.

HOW CAN THE ACCOMMODATION SECTOR HELP?

Travelife Certification helps your business reduce the impact of the waste you produce by focusing on two areas:

  1. Reducing the amount of waste your business produces.
  2. Ensuring that waste is reused, recycled or safely disposed of.

We have provided tools and resources to help you manage this and we encourage you to use them and to share them with your staff.  The best news is that by reducing your waste production you should see general cost and operational benefits to your business as well.

A waste stream is the process that different types of waste follow through your business from purchase to disposal.  Travelife expects Certified Members to understand, assess and document their waste streams.  This helps you decide where you can make improvements to your procurement and disposal methods in order to reduce the amount of waste you produce.  Below we have shown the most common types of waste that the accommodation sector produces.  We recommend you use this as a guide to doing your own waste assessment.

Waste type:  Food

Sub-type:  Leftover food | Food scraps from preparation | Expired/spoiled food

Biggest producer/s:  Food & beverage

Waste type:  Plastic

Sub-type 1:  Single-use (straws, cups, bottles, bags)

Biggest producer/s:  Food & beverage | Guest rooms | Retail (internal and external)

Sub-type 2:  Bottles and jars (lotions, sunscreen, shampoo) | Food & beverage containers | Chemical and cleaning product containers

Biggest producer/s:  Guest rooms (amenities) | Guests bringing from home | Housekeeping | Laundry | Maintenance | Food & beverage

Sub-type 3:  Packaging (including foam/polystyrene) | Plastic wrapping (e.g. wrapped slippers)

Biggest producer/s:  General procurement | Guest rooms | Retail (internal and external)

Waste type:  Paper

Sub-type 1:  Office paper

Biggest producer/s:  Front office | Administration

Sub-type 2:  Flyers and brochures

Biggest producer/s:  Sales & marketing | Concierge/bookings desk | Guest rooms

Waste type:  Cardboard

Sub-type:  Packaging

Biggest producer/s:  General procurement

Waste type:  Metal

Sub-type 1:  Aluminium drink cans | Food cans | Foil (kitchen foil, food packaging, trays)

Biggest producer/s:  Food & beverage | Retail (external and internal)

Sub-type 2:  Aerosol cans

Biggest producer/s:  Housekeeping | Maintenance | Guests bringing from home

Waste type:  Glass

Sub-type:  Beverage bottles |  Food jars

Biggest producer/s:  Food & beverage

Waste type:  General waste

Sub-type: Used sanitary items | Used hygiene items (wipes, napkins, hand towels, gloves) | Personal care items (toothpaste, toothbrush, shower caps)

Biggest producer/s: Guest rooms | Food & beverage

This example shows that food & beverage is the biggest generator of waste followed by guest rooms and guests bringing items to the property.  In this example, the property should focus on reductions in these areas first.

You must take steps to ensure that waste is properly separated so that it can be disposed of in a sustainable manner.  This includes making sure that you are storing it properly prior to disposal.  If your destination has recycling available then you are expected to make every effort to use it, along with using the correct methods for disposing of hazardous waste such as batteries and chemical containers.  Even in destinations without any waste collection and/or recycling facilities, you should be taking steps to ensure that each waste stream is disposed of in a way that is safe for people and wildlife, minimises pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste disposal records

You will need to keep records of how you handle and dispose of your waste streams, along with details of any external suppliers you use with corresponding receipts or waste transfer notes that verify the collection.  Visit the Member Zone to find a template with examples.

Separating waste

There are many opportunities to ensure that waste is separated depending on the type of waste that it is.  Below shows some examples of how that can work for two types of waste streams.  You can find a template in the Member Zone that you can use to record all of your waste separation processes.  Completing this exercise is an excellent way to come up with ideas for improvement.

Waste type:  Food

Collection areas:  Bar | Restaurant | Guest rooms | Kitchen

Separation and control methods:

Separate food waste bins in each back of house area

Serving staff are trained to scrape food waste from plates into the food bins

Housekeepers are reminded not to mix food waste with other waste

Signage instructs and reminds staff about the importance of only putting food in a food waste bin

Regular training and reminders at staff meetings

Waste type:  Plastic

Collection areas:  Guest rooms | Guest rooms | Main entrance | Pool | Beach access | Housekeeping | Bar | Restaurant | Kitchen | Shipping & receiving

Separation and control methods:

Recycling bins with clear signage for guest use

Information in guest rooms about waste separation

Recycling bins with clear signage for staff use

Housekeepers provided with separate bags that are easy to distinguish from general waste bags

Housekeeper trained and reminded to separate used plastic in-room amenities (shampoos etc.)

Regular training and reminders at staff meetings.

COMPLYING WITH LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Travelife wants to be sure that you are complying with all relevant laws and regulations relating to the disposal of waste, and have any necessary licences and permits.

Measuring and monitoring the waste your business produces

This is not currently a Travelife requirement but we recommend that you get used to measuring your waste on a regular basis and recording this information so that you can track improvements.  This also means you can calculate how much your waste is contributing to your greenhouse gas emissions.  It is likely that Travelife will add this as a requirement over the next few years so it would be a good idea to get used to it now.  All of the waste will need to be measured in kilograms (kg).  Some hotels have industrial scales available for this that make the process easier but here are some options if that is not possible for your business:

Use averages to estimate the weight of your waste

There are many different ways to do this depending on how you collect and dispose of your waste.  Some properties might need to use more than one of these because the waste is collected and disposed of in many different ways.  We have provided some suggested methods below and you can find a template with examples in the Member Zone.

Estimating the average weight of waste containers

  1. Weigh a selection of the waste containers over a certain time period (e.g. one week) using the most appropriate set of scales you can find and keep records.
  2. Calculate the average weight by adding up all the measurements then dividing them by the number of measurements you took.
  3. Record that number as your standard measure.
  4. Implement a system for staff to record each time they empty the container.
  5. Regularly add up the number of containers they emptied and multiply it by your standard measure to get your total estimated waste.

For example:

A hotel weighed 10 bins of food waste just before they were emptied and recorded the weights of each bin.

The hotel then added up the weights of each bin to reach a total of 90kg for all 10 bins.

90kg ÷ 10 bins = 9kg. This means that 9kg is the average weight for a bin of food waste.

Over the next week the kitchen staff record that they empty 30 bins of food waste.

30 bins x 9kg = 270kg of estimated food waste during the week.

Estimating the average weight per guest room

  1. Use the method described in steps 1 to 3 to calculate the average weight of a bag of waste collected from rooms by housekeeping.
  2. Ask housekeeping to record how many times they have to empty a full bag of waste over a certain time period (e.g. one week) then add up the total number of full bags.
  3. Multiply the total number of bags by the average weight of each bag. g. 100 full bags x 5kg per bag = 500kg of waste from guest rooms.
  4. Find out the actual number of rooms housekeeping serviced over the same time period (or estimate this based on your actual guest occupancy).
  5. Divide the total weight of guest room waste by the number of rooms serviced to get an average waste weight per guest room. g.  500kg of total waste ÷ 150 rooms serviced = 3.33kg average waste per guest room.
  6. Each month multiply the actual number of guest rooms serviced by the average waste per guest room to get your total estimated waste from guest rooms. g. 300 rooms serviced x 3.33kg = 999kg of waste from guest rooms. 

For example:

A hotel weighed 10 bags of guest room waste and recorded the weights of each bag.

The hotel then added up the weights of each bag to reach a total of 50kg for all 10 bags.

50kg ÷ 10 bags = 5kg. This means that 5kg is the average weight for a bag of guest room waste.

Over the next week the housekeepers recorded the number of full bags of waste they collected whilst servicing the rooms and found that in total, 70 bags of waste were collected.

70 bags x 5kg (average weight) = 350kg of waste.

Housekeeping recorded that 100 rooms were serviced over the same time period.

350kg ÷ 100 rooms = 3.5kg average waste per guest room.

In July housekeeping serviced 500 rooms.

500 rooms x 3.5kg average waste per guest room = 1,750kg of total estimated waste from guest rooms in July.

Estimated weight by number of waste bags used

Important:  This only works if you throw away the entire bag or if you know how many times a waste bag is reused AND if you always use the same size bag.

  1. Use the method described in steps 1 to 3 under ‘estimating average weight of waste containers’ to calculate the average weight of a bag of waste.
  2. Keep records of how many waste bags were used. For example, if the bags you use to collect plastic waste come in a box of 50 and you used 3 boxes, then you used 150 waste bags.
  3. Multiply the total number of bags used by the average weight of each bag. g. 150 bags x 1kg per bag = 150kg of plastic waste.
  4. If you reuse the bags then talk to staff about how often they usually last before they need replacing. For example, if a bag is used 10 times before being replaced then multiply that by the number of bags used to get the total bags of waste.  For example, if there are 50 bags in a box and each bag is used 10 times then the calculation is 50 bags x 10 = 500 bags of waste for every box consumed.  If the average weight of a bag is 1kg then every box used generates an estimated 500kg of waste.

For example:

A hotel weighed 10 bags of plastic waste and recorded the weights of each bag.

The hotel then added up the weights of each bag to reach a total of 10kg for all 10 bags.

10kg ÷ 10 bags = 1kg. This means that 1kg is the average weight for a bag of plastic waste.

In June the hotel used 80 bags and each one was reused an average of 6 times.

80 bags x 6 reuses = 480 estimated bags of plastic waste that were collected.

480 bags x 1kg (average weight) = 480kg of estimated plastic waste in August.

‘Carbon dioxide equivalent emissions’ is the scientifically correct way to refer to a measurement that compares the different greenhouse gases that contribute to the warming of our atmosphere.  To make things a bit easier to understand we normally shorten this to ‘carbon emissions’ or ‘CO2e’.

This is not currently a Travelife requirement but we recommend that you get used to converting your kilograms of waste produced to CO2e.  Not only is this an easy measurement for guests and staff to recognise due to extensive use of the term ‘carbon emissions’, but it is likely that Travelife will add this as a requirement over the next few years so it would be a good idea to get used to it!

The CO2e produced from waste can vary a lot by the type of waste and how it is disposed of.  For example, composting food waste produces significantly less emissions than putting in landfill.  That means it is important to know exactly how your waste is being disposed of so that you can get an accurate conversion number.

You have four options for finding the right conversion number for your waste:

  1. Ask your local waste company for the conversion rate.
  2. Use a reputable online CO2e calculator. These are often provided by national or local government, industry groups (such as an energy association) or environmental organisations.
  3. Look online for a conversion number that is specific to your waste disposal methods.
  4. In the Member Zone you can find our conversion numbers that we have sourced from the UK government.

Calculating greenhouse gas emissions from waste

To convert waste to CO2e, you will first need to make sure you have the amount of waste you produce in kilograms.  Your conversion will be more accurate if you know the weight by the different waste streams you produce.  Visit the Member Zone to view our template with examples.

Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Take the total amount of waste from a certain waste type in a month. g. You had 100kg of food waste in April.
  2. Find the right CO2e conversion factor based on how you dispose of that waste. g. If you compost your food waste it is probably around 0.0102586 per kilo of food waste.
  3. Multiply the total amount of waste in kilos by the conversion factor. g. 100kg of food x 0.0102586 = 1.02586 kgCO2e.
  4. That means that 1.02kg of greenhouse gas emissions were produced by your food waste in April.

Example calculation

(composted food waste) 100kg x 0.0102586 (composted food conversion number = 1.02586 kg CO2e)

1.02kg of greenhouse gas emissions were produced from your food waste.

Once you have calculated the emissions from all of your waste types, you can add them up to get your total greenhouse gas emissions from waste.  You can then add your energy and waste emissions to get an overall total.

Once you have an idea of the types and amounts of waste you are producing, you should set targets and goals to reduce your consumption.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.  Ideally, you should have at least one short-term and one long-term target.  Here are some examples:

Reduce the amount of straws you purchase from 3,000 per year to 500 per year by the end of 2020.

Reduce your food waste by 50% by the end of 2030.

Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.   You should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples:

Implement a food waste composting system by the end of 2020.

Grow 75% of the herbs and vegetables we use in our own gardens by the end of 2030, using fertilisers produced from our own food waste.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  This means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your operations each year to look for ways to reduce you waste production and to ensure you are separating and recycling as much waste as possible.

If you are measuring your waste, review your records to compare your performance to previous years.

Review how well you are doing with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include the appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

The waste assessment

This should assess all waste streams from procurement through to disposal.  As you assess each area you should ask the following questions:

Have you reduced waste production since your last report?

You will need to compare either your procurement or waste measurement records and show what (if any) improvements you have made.  You should try to identify what worked well and what did not, and use this to make recommendations of the steps you should take in the next year.

What contribution is each department/operational area making to waste production?

The purpose of this is to show you what areas you should focus on to achieve reductions.

What is currently being done to reduce waste and increase reuse or recycling?

You should list the things you are currently doing and try to assess how well they are working.

Are there ways to further improve?

For example, can you switch to a new waste collection company?  Are guests and staff being told about ways to reduce and dispose of waste?  Are there ways to engage with your community on waste issues?

What short and long-term improvements could you make?

This will help you plan for making further improvements.  You should group these into short-term and long-term initiatives, along with ones that are low cost and ones requiring a bigger investment.  For example, a short-term/low-cost improvement could be putting better signs on your bins.  A long-term/higher investment improvement could be installing a garden or greenhouse to grow your own vegetables.

Templates

Food waste monitor EnglishEspañol  | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Waste Stream Register EnglishEspañol  | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Waste Production Report (having this document is recommended but not currently a Travelife requirement) English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Waste Self-Assessment (completing this assessment is recommended but this document is not currently a Travelife requirement) English | Español

Waste Separation Assessment (completing this assessment is recommended but this document is not currently a Travelife requirement) English | Español

Examples

Waste Self-Assessment (completing this assessment is recommended but this document is not currently a Travelife requirement) English | Español

Tools

Waste to CO2e Conversion Rates (not currently a Travelife requirement but recommended)  English | Español| Ελληνικά

Related Guides

Creating a Waste Register English | Español| Ελληνικά

Internal Sustainability Reports English | Español

Environmental Policy English | Español

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español

View this as a PDF  English | Español

The two main things that you can do to reduce your negative impacts of waste are:

  1. Reduce your waste consumption.
  2. Ensure that all waste is either reused, recycled or safely disposed of.

We have provided some ideas below to get you started.

QUICK FIXES

These are all either low cost, no cost or low effort.

Food waste

Are you regularly throwing away complimentary food that you provide to guests in their rooms or central areas? This could mean that guests do not value this service so consider eliminating this practice in favour of other sustainable ways to make them feel valued and welcomed.

Talk to your chef about using leftover food to make stocks and sauces.

Monitor food that comes back untouched from guest plates. For example, if the majority of your guests are not eating a salad garnish then you could eliminate that from a dish and, if necessary, find an attractive way to display the food that does get eaten.

Review your portion sizes on plated dishes and volumes on buffets. If you are regularly throwing away uneaten food then simply cutting back on volume can have a big impact.  You can find other ways to make a buffet look impressive through use of decoration.

Composting your own food waste for use as a fertilizer on your own gardens is a great way to reuse waste. If you are unable to do this then find out if there are farmers or other organisations in your community that will collect leftover food for animal feed or compost.

Consider ordering foods that you use in high volume in bulk to reduce packaging but at the same time, check that you are not throwing away unused food because you are ordering it in bulk but not using it quickly enough.

Before eliminating plastics from your kitchen or stores, research the possible benefits they have on food waste. For example, a plastic-wrapped cucumber lasts significantly longer than an unwrapped one.

Implement a system that ensures your food stores are rotated so that the oldest food gets used first and regularly check that staff are following the system.

Review your options for sourcing food locally instead of using suppliers in other towns/cities so that you can purchase products as you need them rather than ordering things ‘just in case’. Any cost increase will almost certainly be offset by reducing the amount of food you purchase that is wasted.  Remember that there is a cost involved in disposing of waste too.

Regularly check the temperature and general condition of fridges, freezers and storerooms to make sure conditions are optimal to maintain the shelf life of food.

Instruct kitchen staff on the importance of always closing fridge and freezer doors. This is a very common problem and can cause food items to spoil more quickly.

Plastic waste

Conduct a plastics assessment throughout your property to look for easy and quick ways to reduce, reuse or eliminate plastics.

Serve drinks without plastic straws or stirrers and have a sustainable alternative such as paper straws or wooden stirrers available for guests that request them.

Ask the suppliers of things like bathrobes and slippers to stop using plastic wrapping.

Replace plastic laundry bags with washable fabric bags that can be reused.

Review your consumable guest room amenities (soaps, shampoos, pens etc.) and eliminate ones that guests do not use very often, instead having them available on request. For example, do your guests really need cotton buds or plastic shoe horns?  For items that guests do appreciate, look for sustainable alternatives that do not use plastic and/or are easy to recycle.  For example, soap that is wrapped in sustainably sourced paper instead of plastic or replacing plastic pens with sustainably produced pencils.

Stop using plastic hygiene strips on guest toilets.

Eliminate plastic wrapping or covers from glasses and cups in guest rooms. If you are worried that a guest will complain, have a small stock available for housekeeping to use only for a guest that has complained.

If you use plastic bin liners, consider tipping their contents into a larger bag and reusing them until they are soiled or damaged. In some areas you may be able to eliminate them and simply wipe out bins instead.

Reuse plastic cleaning product containers to create no-cost spill trays for your chemicals. First you need to make sure that the container did not contain any harmful substances, is clean, is made of a plastic that is robust enough to handle a spill and has enough volume to contain a spill.  Then you can cut the container in half lengthways or cut the top off to make a spill tray big enough for a smaller chemical container.

Consider if there are ways to reduce the plastic key cards you consume. You could encourage guests to hand them in and ask them if they need more than one card instead of automatically issuing two.

Paper and cardboard waste

Stop using hygiene strips on guest toilets.

Eliminate paper or card covers from glasses and cups in guest rooms. If you are worried that a guest will complain, have a small stock available for housekeeping to use only for a guest that has complained.

Consider asking guests if they want a coaster or napkin with their drink instead of offering them automatically.

Set your computers and printers to print double-sided and in black and white by default. This can save a lot of paper and ink toner.

Before you print the final bill for a guest, ask if they would prefer you to e-mail it to them.

Stop putting guest bills into envelopes or folders. If you think this is an important part of your service, considering asking guests if they would like one first.

Consider if there are ways to reduce the amount of key card holders you use or at least making sure they are recycled by encouraging guests to hand them back in.

Provide guest feedback surveys online and let guests know this is an option. This should reduce the amount of paper or card surveys you have to produce.

Review the printed sales and marketing materials you produce. There is a good chance you will find that you are throwing away more unused materials than in previous years as people move to using websites, apps, videos, e-brochures and PowerPoint presentations to promote their business.  This is particularly true if you are promoting to the travel industry at things like trade shows.  Consider including information on where and how to view your materials on a business card or a smaller flyer.

Assess if guests are finding the printed materials you put in rooms (magazines, newspapers, TV guides) useful. If housekeeping report that these are usually untouched, then consider eliminating them and instead leaving a small card saying that these are available on request.

If you are providing all guests with a complimentary newspaper each morning then stop! Many people now get their news online.  Have reception ask guests on check-in if they would like a complimentary newspaper and ensure night staff have information about which rooms have requested this.

General procurement

Using different types and makes of lighting on the same circuit reduces the life span of bulbs, so always purchase the same brand and technology.

Buy recycled ground glass for pool filters instead of sand.

Verify that any waste collection suppliers are disposing of your waste in a sustainable manner. If not, you might be able to change to a different supplier or pressure your existing one to improve their performance.

Ask your suppliers to reduce, reuse or eliminate packaging. If that is not possible then ask them to find more sustainable alternatives, e.g. using recycled shredded paper to protect fragile items instead of polystyrene.  You might be able to return the shredded paper to them so they can reuse it.

Dedicate some time to checking that products that claim they are environmentally friendly or biodegradable definitely are. For example, some plastics claim to be biodegradable yet still take decades to degrade, do not degrade in marine environments and/or release toxic chemicals during the process.

General

Is there any waste that a local art group, community group, charity or school could use? There are numerous ideas to explore here that also help with your community engagement efforts:

A homeless charity or women’s shelter might appreciate guest bathroom amenities or good quality leftover food.

A hospital or care home might like to have magazines and books that guests have left behind.

A local school or college might be able to use things like menus and brochures for tourism and hospitality courses.

An animal shelter might appreciate clean blankets, towels or bathrobes that you are replacing.

Discussions with local artists and art teachers could lead to many unique ideas. For example, we know of one hotel that had chandeliers made from wine bottles and another that had their Christmas tree made from water bottles.

Can you use any of your waste for guest activities such as a children’s programme? For example, plastic bottle tops can make good paint containers and there are numerous art and craft activities for children that could use old magazines, newspapers, cardboard boxes, egg cartons and old brochures.

Your staff are a great resource to help you find sustainability solutions so ask them for help. For example, a staff member might know of a school or kindergarten that will collect your used egg cartons or plastic bottle tops for artwork.  Initiatives like this are a great way to engage your staff, support your community and to reduce your environmental impact.

Put information in guest rooms reminding them about ways to help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing waste during their stay.

Put information in staff areas about the importance of reducing and properly disposing of waste.

Frequently check bins to ensure that your staff are properly disposing of waste. If they are, be sure that praise is given.  If they are not, add training or signage as necessary.

Make sure that recycling bins have clear signs so that it is easy for anyone to understand how to separate their waste. Graphics work much better than text but if you do go for text, make sure it is available in the main languages of your guests.

Assess what guests are putting in your rubbish bins. You may find that most items are bottles, cans, food or paper-based waste, all of which can be recycled.  Adding more recycling bins will make it easy for guests to recycle, perhaps you could re-designate some of your general waste bins as recycling bins.

Some bars give guests the bottle and/or can with a glass when they serve a drink, so that the guest can pour it themselves. Consider ending this practice in places where guests might take the can or bottle away with them and not dispose of it properly.

How can you help your guests to dispose of waste properly when they check out? If you check with your housekeeping staff you may find that many guests leave behind things like sunscreen, shampoos, shopping bags and packaging from shopping.  Consider if there are better ways for you to ensure these things are reused or recycled.

Proper use can increase the life span of equipment. Train your staff to use equipment in the most efficient way possible.  Consider things like the optimal load in a washing machine, the correct heat setting on a dryer, the best temperature setting in a fridge or the optimal power level of a vacuum cleaner.

Batteries are extremely harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly and often guests will throw them into general waste so that our Members do not realise the extent of the problem, or have an opportunity to fix it.  Find out if there is a sustainable disposal method for them in your destination and if possible, encourage guests and staff to hand in used batteries so you can ensure they are disposed of correctly.

MODERATE COST AND EFFORT

Replace individual bathroom amenities such as soap and shampoo with dispensers that can be refilled from a bulk supply. This will reduce plastic waste and operating costs.

Growing you own herbs, vegetables or fruit has many benefits:

Providing you adjust menus according to when items can be harvested, you can reduce spoiled food and increase the freshness of dishes by picking what you need each day.

You can use compost from your own food waste as fertiliser.

You can engage guests with things like seasonal cooking classes, featuring seasonal dishes from your own gardens or educating them about herbs, fruit and vegetables that are of special significance to your destination.

You can engage your community by donating unused produce or teaming up with local schools or charities to offer training programmes about growing food, gardening and how to reduce food waste.

Growing plants that are native to your region will support biodiversity and important wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds.

If you are unable to grow your own garden you could partner up with a community group or other businesses to create a shared facility.

HIGHER INVESTMENT WITH LONG-TERM REWARDS

Consider moving any chemical, fuel or waste storage structures so they are well away from natural resources in the event of a leak or spill. Even a small amount of a toxic chemical leaked into the ocean or a stream can have a serious and lasting impact on water quality, plants and wildlife, potentially harming humans too.  Build any new structures to be robust, to have adequate ventilation, to keep out wildlife and to safely contain leaks and spills according to the latest standards.

Using salt to keep pool water clean is an excellent solution for smaller pools and prevents the production of more harmful waste from pool chemicals.

Objective

Record how you are managing all the types of waste your business is producing so that you can verify that you are managing waste properly and keep track of areas that need improvement.

A waste stream is the process that different types of waste follow through your business from purchase to disposal.  Your waste streams will probably include:

Food

Plastics

Glass

Metals

Paper & Cardboard

Hazardous waste

General waste

Most of these waste streams will have sub-categories that you will have to record separately.  For example, plastic waste will include plastic that can be recycled and plastic that cannot be recycled so has to be put in your general waste.  Also, different types of hazardous waste will need to be handled in different ways.

This will need to include the following information:

The type of waste

If you are separating it (if not, you need to explain why)

How it is being stored prior to disposal

How it is being disposed of including the names of any external suppliers

Any action you are taking to address issues such as lack of recycling facilities

You can find a template with examples in the Member Zone.

We recommend you update this document at least once per year or whenever there is a change in your waste management processes.

Keep invoices, bills or waste transfer notes from any external suppliers for at least three years, along with any internal records you keep about waste management.  Travelife will ask to see these documents.

You will need to make every effort to ensure that your waste is being either reused, recycled or disposed of in a sustainable manner.  This means things like using recycling facilities if they are available and encouraging local authorities in your destination to improve waste management infrastructure where necessary.  We recommend that you document any action you have taken.

Templates

Waste Register EnglishEspañol  | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Related Guides

Detailed Guide to Waste English | Español

View this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Templates

Waste register EnglishEspañol  | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Food waste monitor EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Travelife Tutorial Videos

Recording food waste (English only)

Muy pronto esta sección estará disponible en español.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) have information and advice about waste from a global perspective

European Union waste information and resources, including leglislation

The Travel Foundation have a variety of information and resources, many of which are global.

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you keep a list of all hazardous substances used in your business (e.g. chemicals, hazardous materials, light bulbs, batteries, ink/toner cartridges etc.)? Does this register show how much of each is stored on site, how much is used and the legal requirements for throwing these away? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you record the use of all hazardous substances? Where chemicals are used, does this record show if they are concentrated or not? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you keep records to show how much hazardous waste (in litres or kg) you have collected, where it is stored and how much is removed from your premises? Do you have records to show that this is taken away by a fully licensed contractor?

[Have you evaluated the environmental impacts of the chemicals you use? (Not required for your first audit)

If you use chemicals with a high environmental impact, how do you control their use? (not required for your first audit)

Do you store all chemicals safely, in line with national and international standards?

Do you dispose of all chemicals safely, in line with national and international standards?

Is all equipment which contains hazardous chemicals (refrigerants, coolants etc.) regularly serviced in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines?

Are all employees who handle hazardous chemicals given proper training and protective clothing/equipment, in line with national and international health and safety standards?

Do you have written emergency instructions/plans/data sheets to use if there is a spill?

Do you have evidence to show how you control the use of chemicals which damage the environment in areas which use large quantities of chemicals (e.g. laundry, cleaning etc.)? (Not required for your first audit)

Do you use disinfectants only when they are necessary to comply with legal hygiene requirements?

A hazardous substance can be anything in solid, liquid or gas form that can be harmful to humans, wildlife or the environment.  In hotels these often include things like:

Pool cleaning chemicals such as chlorine

Maintenance materials such as glues and paints

Cleaning materials such as disinfectants

Laundry chemicals such as detergents

Batteries

Fuels such as propane or diesel

Refrigerants used in appliances and air-conditioning units

The hazards that each substance presents can vary greatly.  For example:

Some pose hazards in general use so require protective clothing to prevent injury from spills or inhaling fumes.

Some are generally safe when used properly but can become toxic or explosive when mixed with other chemicals, stored at the wrong temperature or by releasing toxic materials as they decompose.

Others are safe when diluted but can be dangerous in concentrated forms.

Almost all of them are hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly, with a particular risk being soil or water pollution harming ecosystems or in extreme cases, leaving water or soil too toxic for human, aquatic or plant life.

At Travelife we ask our hotels to consider the following:

The types of substances that are being used

What they are used for

Where they are sourced

How they are stored

What measures are in place to minimise risks

What is being done to reduce use

What steps are in place to ensure they are being disposed of safely

HOW CAN THE ACCOMMODATION SECTOR MINIMISE THE IMPACTS OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES?

Travelife Certification helps your business improve the impact of the hazardous substances you use by focusing on four main areas:

  1. Reducing the amount used
  2. Safe storage
  3. Safe use
  4. Safe disposal

We have provided tools and resources to help you manage this and we encourage you to use them and to share them with your staff.

You will need to identify and record all of the hazardous substances your business uses by carrying out a thorough inspection of all departments and storage areas.  In most countries you will find markings on containers that clearly show whether a product contains hazardous materials.  If you have containers without any labels then you must treat them as a high-risk hazard until you can verify their contents, at which point you must ensure they are clearly labelled.

Most countries use these symbols

This graphic is more common in the Americas

Here are some of the more common hazardous substances used in hospitality.  However, it is your responsibility to review all of your products and check if they are harmful:

Batteries: These could be small batteries used in clocks or mobile phones, or larger batteries from laptops and cars.  Whilst the hazardous substances are generally well contained when they are being used, they can be extremely harmful to the environment after disposal and should therefore be treated as hazardous waste.  Replacing equipment with modern technology or sustainable alternatives can reduce your overall consumption of batteries.

Chlorine: This can be an extremely harmful chemical that many hotels use in a concentrated form that is added to swimming pools to keep water clean.  It can also be found in cleaning products such as bleach, and is widely used to sanitise water.  For health and safety reasons, many hotels will not be able to stop using chlorine but you could consider things like salt-dosed pools in your long-term plans.  In the meantime, you should pay close attention to the safe storage, use and disposal of this chemical.

Degreasers: These are cleaning products used to remove grease from equipment.  They often contain solvents that can be harmful for people and the environment.  In some cases, there are less harmful alternatives but if not, you should strictly control their use.

Detergents: Many people underestimate the environmental cost of using detergents that contain harmful chemicals.  These end up in waste water and if that is not properly treated in your destination, it can be very harmful to aquatic life and general biodiversity.  Even well-developed destinations may not be treating waste water correctly.  It is often possible to replace these with safer alternatives so we recommend you check detergent labels carefully, control their use and seek other options where possible.

General cleaning products: There is a variety of harmful chemicals that are found in common cleaning products that often surprise people.  For example, ammonia can be found in many glass cleaners, acids or solvents can be in oven cleaners and bleach is common in toilet cleaners.  You should review the contents of your cleaning products, record any that contain hazardous substances and look for ways to replace these with less harmful alternatives.

Pest control: The products you use to control things like mosquitos, rodents, ants and cockroaches can contain harmful chemicals.

Refrigerators and air conditioning: These contain ozone depleting substances that are extremely harmful to the environment if not properly maintained and disposed of.  Technology is constantly improving in this area, so when you do need to replace this type of equipment you should spend time researching the most ozone-friendly options.  In the meantime, you will need to keep records of all the equipment you have that contains ozone-depleting substances, have them serviced regularly by qualified technicians and identify how you can safely dispose of them.

Here are some other common products you might have at your property that you should check:

Paints

Fuels

Glues

Fluorescent lightbulbs

Older materials that could contain asbestos, lead or mercury

Oil, in particular waste oil, which has increased toxicity due to the constant heating process, and hydraulic oil used in elevators

Empty containers with residue from the original contents

Solvents, lubricants, brake fluid

Fertilizers and other garden treatments

You must have a central document that staff can access that contains detailed information on the use, storage and disposal of each substance and/or product containing hazardous substances.  There is a Travelife template (English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe ) and your document should contain all of the following:

Name of chemical/substance.

Manufacturer/brand name.

If it is in a concentrated form that needs to be diluted or mixed with something else before use.

What it is used for.

How much is used in a single dose. For example, 300mls or 500g or 20oz.

Estimated amount used in a year. You can take this from your usage records or from your purchase records.

How it must be stored. For example, in a spill tray, in a locked cupboard, in a well-ventilated area, separate from other chemicals.

What personal protective equipment is required.

Any other documentation that is required such as staff training records or special instructions.

Whether it poses a low, medium or high hazard to people and/or the environment.

What actions have been taken to lower that risk.

Any local, national, international or industry laws and regulations regarding the handling and disposal of the substance.

Your own internal procedure for ensuring that you dispose of the substance legally and safely.

You must record all of the types of hazardous substances you use, how much you are storing and how much you are using.  This must be updated at least once per month and your records must contain the following information:

The type of substance or chemical name.

The name of manufacturer or brand name.

If you have it in a concentrated form that needs to be diluted or mixed with something else before use.

The amount you are currently storing.

The amount you have used since your last report.

You can use the Travelife template (English  | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe).

Once you have records of the types and amounts of hazardous substances you are using, you should set targets or goals to reduce your consumption and minimise environmental impacts.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.

Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.  You should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples of both short and long-term targets and goals:

Replace 100% of window cleaning products containing ammonia with non-toxic alternatives by the end of 2020.

Replace all air-conditioning systems with ozone-friendly equipment by 2022.

Implement a battery disposal programme by the end of 2020.

Construct a purpose-built chemical storage facility away from waterways by 2025.

Implement monthly calibration checks of automatic chemical dosing equipment.

Add training on how to reduce the use of hazardous substances to the existing health and safety training and materials.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  That means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your operations each year to look for ways to reduce the use of hazardous substances and improve safe storage, handling and disposal procedures.

Use your consumption records to compare your performance to previous years.

Review how well you are doing with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include any appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

The hazardous substance assessment

This should assess all areas of the business that use products that contain hazardous substances.  They are likely to include:

Lighting

Heating and cooling

Laundry

Kitchen

Housekeeping

Swimming pools and spas

Maintenance

As you assess each area you should ask the following questions:

Have you reduced consumption since your last report?

You will need to compare your records and show what (if any) savings you have made.  You should try to identify what worked well and what did not, and use this to make recommendations for the steps you should take in the next year.

What contribution is the area of consumption making to your overall chemical use?

Try to be as accurate as possible in terms of calculating the litres or kilograms used for each area.  Sometimes you will have to use estimates.  The purpose of this is to show you what areas you should focus on to achieve reductions.

What is currently being done to reduce chemical use?

You should list the things you are currently doing to control use in each area and try to assess how well they are working.  For example, finding safe alternatives to laundry detergents or adding spill kits to storage rooms.

Are there ways to further reduce use?

For example, are there better waste disposal suppliers you could use?  Are there alternative products that are safer?  Have staff been properly trained?

What short and long-term improvements could you make?

This will help you plan for making further reductions in your use of hazardous substances.  You should group these into short-term and long-term initiatives, along with ones that are low cost and ones requiring a bigger investment.  For example, a short-term/low-cost improvement could be replacing switching to non-toxic pesticide.  A long-term/higher-investment improvement could be replacing old refrigerators.

Templates

Hazardous Substance Register English| Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Recording Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

List of Equipment Containing Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Hazardous Waste Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Chemical Spills Incident Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Examples

Environmental Policy EnglishEspañol

Related Guides

Creating a hazardous substance register English | Español| Ελληνικά

Recording hazardous substances EnglishEspañol| Ελληνικά

View this guide as a PDF English | Español

View this as a PDF English | Español

The four main things that you can do to reduce your environmental impacts from hazardous substances are:

  1. Reducing the amount used
  2. Storing substances safely
  3. Using substances safely
  4. Disposing of substances safely

There are many things you can do that will ensure progress in all four of these areas.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

QUICK FIXES

These are all either low cost, no cost or low effort.

Reducing use

Conduct a thorough review of why you are using products containing hazardous substances. Unless there is a legal or hygiene reason you should ask yourself if there is a less harmful alternative and if you are sure that staff are using the minimum amount required.

Frequently check pools for leaks and keep an eye on the water level. If you are losing water then you will probably be using more chemicals to keep the water clean.

Reducing the number of towels and linens being washed unnecessarily can have a major impact on your chemical use. Here are some ideas to address that:

You could implement a towel and linen reuse programme and regularly check that housekeeping are following it.

Consider only changing towels and sheets every four days during a guest’s stay. If you are concerned about guest complaints you can simply inform them that they can request fresh towels or a linen change whenever they wish.

Consider if you are putting more towels in guest rooms than are needed. If the maximum room occupancy is two, then put only that number of towels out and either let guests know that they can request more or put extra towels in a different place such as a wardrobe, so it is easy for housekeeping to see they are unused and therefore do not need replacing.

Are guests using more towels than necessary in the spa, gym or the pool? If these areas are staffed it might be possible to issue individual towels or to remind guests via signage about the environmental impacts.

Reduce the unnecessary use of detergents by training your staff to use equipment in the most efficient way possible. Consider things like the optimal load in a washing machine or dishwasher.

Ensure the bleed valve pipe on an automatic dosing machine for swimming pool chemicals is returning waste chemicals to the container for reuse and not simply draining out chemicals on to the ground or into a drain.

There should be signage outside rooms and cupboards that informs people that chemicals are stored there.

Spend some time researching less toxic alternatives to your cleaning products. For example, white-distilled vinegar makes an effective, cheap and environmentally friendly cleaner for glass and mirrors.

Safe storage and use

Carry out regular checks of any equipment that contains refrigerants. Make sure you do this in accordance with local, national and international regulations along with the most recent advice of the manufacturer that applies to your specific models.  Equipment containing ozone-depleting substances should have regular servicing by a qualified technician.

Ensure that chemicals that react to each other are stored apart.

Make sure that chemicals are stored in a way that they can be accessed and handled safely by your staff. For example, don’t stack them too high or place them on high shelves.

Implement an incident reporting system for any chemical spills.

Regularly check the spill trays you use for chemicals for wear and tear, then replace as necessary.

Dedicate some time to checking that products that claim they are environmentally friendly or biodegradable definitely are. For example, some eco-brands follow sustainable processes in their factories yet the chemicals their products contain are still harmful.  Remember that chlorine is a potentially dangerous chemical, even when it is produced by an eco-label.  If you have been misled by this, you will need to update your storage, use and disposal procedures accordingly.

Check that you have proper personal protective equipment available that is appropriate for the chemicals you are using. For example, a dust mask will not offer protection against gases. Protective goggles should be airtight (no vents) if intended to be used in an area with a risk of chlorine gas escape. Integral (combined) filter and mask protection is better as the whole face is protected.

Don’t store masks and goggles within the area that could become contaminated with chlorine, apart from the fact that this makes them difficult to reach in the event of a gas leak, they could also become contaminated before wear making them useless.

Buy spill kits for all rooms where chemicals are stored and make sure there are clear instructions with them in all the languages your staff understand.

This also belongs under ‘safe disposal’ but you should regularly review all laws and regulations that relate to the substances you use. Make sure you are complying and make changes if necessary.

Safe disposal

Batteries are extremely harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly and often guests will throw them into general waste so that our Members do not realise the extent of the problem, or have an opportunity to fix it. Find out if there is a sustainable disposal method for them in your destination and if possible, encourage guests and staff to hand in used batteries so you can ensure they are disposed of correctly.

Fluorescent bulbs (both compact and tubes) need to be disposed of carefully so replace them with LED alternatives.

Treat empty chemical containers with the same care as you would with full containers by storing them safely before disposal and keeping chemicals that react with each other apart.

Verify that any waste collection suppliers are disposing of hazardous waste in a sustainable manner. If not, you might be able to change to a different supplier or pressure your existing one to improve their performance.

MODERATE COST AND EFFORT

Consider using a liquid pool cover that not only reduces the loss of heat and water, but can also reduce the depletion of pool cleaning chemicals.

Invest in automatic chemical dosing systems to control the doses and regularly check that it is calibrated according to the minimum dose required for each product/chemical.

Make sure that all of the chemicals you store are in spillage trays that can contain the spill of a full container of chemicals and that are made of a material that will not be corroded by the spill.

Check that you have proper personal protective equipment available that is appropriate for the chemicals you are using. For example, a dust mask will not offer protection against gases.

Make sure that all hazardous chemicals are stored behind two doors that can be locked. For example, a locked cupboard in a locked room.

Be sure that there is proper and safe ventilation in chemical storage rooms. For example, when chlorine spills it drops to the ground so ground level extraction is required.  Also, be sure that the ventilation does not lead to an area where people can be harmed.

Install eye bath stations or kits in areas where harmful chemicals such as chlorine are stored and used.

HIGHER INVESTMENT WITH LONG-TERM REWARDS

When replacing equipment be sure to research for the latest technology that reduces or eliminates chemical use. This applies to large equipment like air-conditioning units and restaurant fridges through to small items like floor cleaners.

Using salt ionization to keep pool water clean is an excellent solution for smaller pools. If at all possible you should plan to make this switch and use it for any new pools being built.

Consider moving any chemical, fuel or waste storage structures so they are well away from natural resources in the event of a leak or spill. Even a small amount of a toxic chemical leaked into the ocean or a stream can have a serious and lasting impact on water quality, plants and wildlife, potentially harming humans too.  Build any new structures to be robust, to have adequate ventilation, to keep out wildlife and to safely contain leaks and spills according to the latest standards.

Objective

Create a written record of the types of hazardous substances/chemicals you use and how they should be used and disposed of, along with any relevant regulations.

A hazardous substance can be anything in solid, liquid or gas form that can be harmful to humans, wildlife or the environment.  In hotels these often include things like:

Pool cleaning chemicals such as chlorine

Maintenance materials such as glues and paints

Cleaning materials such as disinfectants

Laundry chemicals such as detergents

Batteries, lightbulbs and ink toners

Fuels such as propane or diesel

Refrigerants used in appliances and air-conditioning units

Oils, especially waste oil and hydraulic oil

Create a central document that staff can access that contains detailed information on the use, storage and disposal of each substance and/or product containing hazardous substances.

Regularly check that the information you have on relevant regulations, licences and permits is up to date and that you are complying.

You should also make sure you have the latest guidelines on how to use, store and dispose of each substance.  This information can change regularly so staying up to date is important.

The main purpose of this register is to make sure that all staff using, storing or disposing of hazardous substances can quickly and easily find accurate information.

You might change the products you use, your internal processes or have new information about guidelines and laws.  We recommend you schedule a quarterly review of this document and ensure there is a procedure to update it whenever a new product or supplier is used.

Templates

Hazardous Substance Register English| Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Recording Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

List of Equipment Containing Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Hazardous Waste Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Chemical Spills Incident Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Examples

Environmental Policy EnglishEspañol

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Objective

Record the amount of hazardous substances/chemicals your property uses at least once per month so that you can track your performance and compare it with previous years.

A hazardous substance can be anything in solid, liquid or gas form that can be harmful to humans, wildlife or the environment.  In hotels these often include things like:

Pool cleaning chemicals such as chlorine

Maintenance materials such as glues and paints

Cleaning materials such as disinfectants

Laundry chemicals such as detergents

Batteries, lightbulbs and ink toners

Fuels such as propane or diesel

Refrigerants used in appliances and air-conditioning units

Oils, especially waste oil and hydraulic oil

You must record all of the types of hazardous substances you use, how much you are storing and how much you are using.  This must be updated at least once per month and your records must contain the following information:

The type of substance or chemical name

The name of manufacturer or brand name

If you have it in a concentrated form that needs to be diluted or mixed

The amount you are currently storing

The amount you have used since your last report

You can find a template with examples in the Member Zone.  You may already have a stock control system for the consumption of hazardous substances and chemicals on your computer or records in your storage room where employees record consumption.  You may use these provided they include all of the information listed above and are updated at least once per month.

Each month you need to record the amount you have in stock and the amount used since you last updated the report.

Use your records to assess your performance in reducing your use of hazardous substances, and to establish if the steps you are already taking are working.  You should also use this information to think of ways to make further improvements, and to help you set new goals and targets.

Templates

Hazardous Substance Register English| Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Recording Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

List of Equipment Containing Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Hazardous Waste Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Chemical Spills Incident Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Examples

Environmental Policy EnglishEspañol

Download this guide as a PDF English | Español | Ελληνικά

Templates

Hazardous Substance Register English| Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Recording Hazardous Substances English | Español | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

List of Equipment Containing Hazardous Substances EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Hazardous Waste Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Chemical Spills Incident Record EnglishEspañol | Ελληνικά | Türkçe

Some of these are not required for your first Travelife audit so we have marked those clearly in bold text. All other Members will need to comply with all of the following requirements: -

Do you take part in any of the activities listed below? If you do, can you provide evidence that you meet international regulations and codes of practice?

• Taking species from the wild
• Using protected species for food/drink
• Showing/exhibiting wildlife species
• Trading of wildlife species
• Selling articles originally made from materials of wildlife

Do you have all the necessary licences to operate, as required by regulatory organisations for wildlife?

Do you keep wildlife on the premises? If yes, do you meet the requirements in appendix I of the Travelife  Standard?

Do any of the practices in appendix II of the Travelife Standard take place on the premises? Do you promote any of these practices or promote places where these practices do happen?

Do you have evidence that any activities which involve wildlife are done in line with established codes of practice for contact with animals?

Do you tell your guests not to take part in activities which harm animals or those animals’ surrounding habitats? These could be animals in the wild or in captivity.  (Not required for your first audit)

View or download this information as a PDF:

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APPENDIX I

When do these requirements apply?
Any situation where animals are managed by and/or dependent on people. There are additional requirements for exhibiting whales and dolphins (Section B) and for working animals (Section C).

A: Minimum Requirements for animals that are managed by/dependent on people

1. All animals have regular, daily access to adequate and clean drinking water in line with their species specific needs.

2. All animals are fed appropriate food (which includes necessary supplements for animals in captivity), via an appropriate feeding routine, which mentally stimulates the animal(s) and encourages natural behaviour (eg foraging, browsing, grazing etc).

3. In captivity, enclosures (including pools) or methods used to contain the animals for temporary periods allow all the animals to move and exercise freely, and to maintain sufficient distance from other animals in case of conflict.

4. In captivity, enclosures are environmentally complex, including natural substrate, furniture, shelter and environmental enrichment, in order to encourage normal/natural behaviour. All animals should be able to seek shelter from extreme weather and privacy from view.

5. In captivity, enclosures are clean, hygienic and well-maintained, (for example, devoid of excessive faeces, urine or rotting food, potentially harmful litter, not waterlogged, not infested with vermin).

6. The facility employs a vet who is knowledgeable and experienced in the health and welfare of the relevant animals (either employed on site or externally contracted).

7. There is a policy not to surgically modify the skin, tissues, teeth or bone structure of animals, and not to sedate animals to make them safe to handle, unless it is for the purpose of genuine medical treatment under the guidance of an appropriately trained vet.

8. Where customers are permitted to be photographed with animals, this should be free from evidence of bad practice. For more info see the ABTA guidance on animal welfare in tourism, Unacceptable and Discouraged Practices.

9. Complete, accurate animal stock-lists, veterinary records and any appropriate licences or permits should be up-to-date and available for inspection. The required paperwork should be in place for any animals which have been acquired from the wild.

10. Where animals are involved in performances, they should involve natural behaviours and be free from bad practice. Training methods should be based on positive reinforcement only.

B: Additional minimum requirements for captive whales and dolphins

1. All water systems have an efficient, continuous filtration system, or sufficient water exchange, which has a back-up system in case of failure. This should maintain appropriate water temperature and quality for the animal/s. The water should not be polluted.

2. Pool ozone/redox and halogen ion content are monitored daily. Total free and combined chlorine should not exceed 1.8mg/l and levels should be tested twice daily for concentration of chlorine and/or oxidising agents.

3. Pool temperature is consistently maintained at a temperature appropriate for the species contained and is monitored daily. Appropriate pool temperatures range between 8°C and 32°C for cetacean, depending on the specific species (EAAM, 2003)*.

4. The pool’s pH is consistently maintained between 7.4 and 8.2 and is monitored daily.

5. Pool salinity should not fall below 22 PPT**.

6. Pool coliform bacterial levels should not exceed 1,000 colonies/100ml of water and should be monitored at least weekly.

7. Where contact sessions are permitted, they are limited to 30 minutes, with a maximum of four sessions per day per animal with at least one hour rest period between each session. Keepers should ensure the animals are kept mentally stimulated between interaction sessions.

8. Customers entering pools are required to remove jewellery and shower both before and after these sessions to safeguard the welfare of the animals as well as the health and safety of customers.

* For example bottlenose dolphins require water temperatures of no lower than 10°C and no more than 32°C.
** PPT = Parts per trillion

C: Additional minimum requirements for businesses with working animals

1. Tethering and hobbling should be discouraged and where unavoidable should only be conducted using appropriate materials and methods that do not cause risk to the animal’s welfare. Tethering should be for a limited time: no more than a few hours per day. The animals should be able to walk, lie down and stand up without putting tension on the tether, and reach basic resources like food, water and shade. They should be regularly monitored.

2. Young, pregnant, nursing, injured, ill, distressed or elderly animals should not be ridden, or be required to carry/pull loads. Equids (hoofed mammals) should not be worked before they are three years old; camels should not be ridden before four years. Weaning should not be conducted for horses, donkey and mules before six months; preferably it should be allowed to occur naturally. Weaning for camels should not be conducted before four months; preferably, it should be allowed to occur naturally.

3. Equipment should fit, not causing injury, and should be cleaned and dried after use. Equipment should be removed during rest periods and ideally when eating/drinking.

4. Animals should train and work within their physical capabilities. Loads should be equivalent to the animal’s size and ability (e.g. not more than one person on an equine or camel), work should not be in the hottest part of the day and animals should have regular rest periods each day of at least an hour between working periods.

APPENDIX II

When do these requirements apply?
Certain activities are widely recognised as having a detrimental impact on animal welfare, and in some cases they may present a high risk to visitor safety. These activities have therefore been classified as ‘unacceptable’. Travel providers working with these guidance manuals have agreed that these activities should not be offered for sale to customers.

Unacceptable practices

These activities are divided into three categories involving animals: -

1. In captive attractions
2. In cultural events and activities
3. Free-roaming in the wild

1. Unacceptable practices involving animals in captive attractions

– animals on display in restaurants and entertainment venues involving bad practice
– animal breeding or commercial trade in sanctuaries and orphanages
– animals used as photographic props involving bad practice
– animal performances based on non-natural behaviours and shows where training methods compromise welfare
– canned hunting
– elephant polo
– ostrich riding
– unlicensed zoos
– surgery or physical modification of the skin, tissues, teeth or bones of an animal, other than for the purposes of genuine medical treatment
– euthanasia practices which do not comply with best practice guidance.

2. Unacceptable practices involving animals in cultural events and activities

– animals used for begging (e.g. dancing bears, snake charming, primates)
– bear baiting
– bear bile farms
– bear pits
– bullfighting and bull running
– cockfighting
– reptile farms involving bad practice
– crocodile wrestling
– tiger farms
– surgery or physical modification of the skin, tissues, teeth or bones of an animal, other than for the purposes of genuine medical treatment.

3. Unacceptable practices involving free-roaming wild animals

– unregulated animal and plant collection from the wild
– direct contact with and feeding of free roaming animals
– human initiated physical interaction with wild whales and dolphins
– trade and sale of endangered wildlife products
– trophy hunting

Discouraged practices

Travel providers working with these guidance manuals will only consider promoting animal-based activities which are classified as discouraged practices where they are satisfied that the risks to animal welfare and the health and safety of customers are managed appropriately. Examples of discouraged practices are:

– animal contact and feeding with Category ‘1’, Greatest Risk animals (DEFRA, 2004)
– the feeding of animals with live vertebrate prey
– birds of prey displays and falconry centres using tethering
– ritual animal slaughter
– acquisition of wild animals.

Biodiversity simply means the variety of plant and animal life on the planet, along with the ecosystems that support them.  It includes protecting wildlife and endangered species, so in this document when we use the term ‘biodiversity’ we are including wildlife protection.

Animal welfare is about ensuring that any animals your operation has an impact on, whether directly or indirectly, are being well cared for physically and mentally.

Although these are separate subjects, we have included them together in this Member Guide because they are closely linked, and because many hotels will have the same staff working in both areas.

At Travelife, we expect our Members to take steps to ensure that local ecosystems, wildlife and animals are not harmed by their operations or the activities of their guests. This includes actively discouraging guests from taking part in activities that may negatively affect animal welfare and biodiversity.  We also expect our Members to take into consideration ecosystems and wildlife that are outside their region.  This includes:

Complying with all relevant local, national and international laws, regulations and codes of practice.

Not engaging in (or supporting) the hunting, killing/destruction or trade of protected species.

Not displaying, serving or selling protected species or any items made from them.

Informing guests and staff about how to protect any sensitive areas both on your property and in your destination. These could include things like sand dunes and reefs.

Supporting relevant initiatives in your destination that protect or encourage biodiversity.

Not operating or supporting any activities, excursions, entertainment or attractions that involve any of the Travelife Unacceptable Practices or that do not comply with the Travelife Animal Welfare Minimum Requirements.

Ensuring that any refurbishments, new builds or landscaping do not harm biodiversity.

Procuring products that are certified as using sustainable production and sourcing methods such as Rainforest Alliance, FSC, MSC and Fairtrade.

Seeking ways within your own operations to protect and enhance biodiversity.

Acting to correct any negative impacts you are already having on biodiversity or animal welfare.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS OPERATING ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS

Sometimes our auditors cannot assess if a Member is meeting our animal welfare minimum requirements because specialist veterinary experience is required. This usually only occurs at accommodation that has a zoo, aquatic shows or similar.  If this happens you may be required to pay for a specialist animal welfare auditor from another auditing company.  Travelife will recommend some reputable companies to you.  Any contracting and payments will be made directly between your business and that company.  We will only be able to certify your property against our animal welfare standards once a specialist and reputable auditor has provided us with evidence that you comply with our standards.

Some businesses will have a lot more to consider than others depending on where you are and the type of accommodation you offer.  We have produced a checklist that we recommend you follow to assess what your problem areas might be as well as opportunities to improve.  You can find it in the Member Zone. Below shows some common accommodation operational areas that have an effect on biodiversity and animal welfare.

Operational area:  Procurement

Possible negative impacts:

Purchasing animal products (e.g. meat, eggs, dairy) from a supplier that mistreat animals.

Purchasing a product where the sourcing or production methods cause things like deforestation or pollution of natural environments.

Purchasing products made from endangered species (e.g. for food preparation, retail).

Contracting companies to provide entertainment and activities that involve the mistreatment of animals.

Remedy:

Look for reputable certification marks such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, FSC or MSC to verify that a product has been produced sustainably.

Look for free-range animal products, ideally using a reputable certification, or in the case of local farmers, by checking conditions yourself.

Use websites such as CITES and WWF to check the endangered species list.

Avoid entertainment and activities that involve animals or check them against the Travelife Animal Welfare Minimum Requirements and List of Unacceptable Practices.

Operational area:  Activities, attractions & entertainment

Possible negative impacts:

Offering activities at your property that involve animals (e.g. live shows, photos with animals, feeding animals).

Offering activities at your property that could harm important ecosystems/sensitive areas (e.g. reefs, sand dunes).

Using brochures, signs or other forms of advertising that promote off-site activities, attractions and entertainment involving animals (e.g. zoos, swimming with dolphins, animal shows, camel riding, trekking with pack animals).

Using brochures, signs or other forms of advertising that promote off-site activities, attractions and entertainment that could harm important ecosystems/sensitive areas. (e.g. reef snorkelling, off-road vehicle activities).

Remedy:

Avoid offering or promoting attractions, entertainment and activities that involve animals or check them against the Travelife Animal Welfare Minimum Requirements and List of Unacceptable Practices.

Ask the operators you promote about the steps they take to prevent harming sensitive areas.  If you are not satisfied, stop promoting them.

If you know of any sensitive areas that are being harmed by tourist activities, warn your guests about these and about what they can do to minimise any harm.

Operational area:  Grounds

Possible negative impacts:

Pathways or access roads that go through sensitive areas (e.g. sand dunes, wetlands, grasslands, close to streams and rivers).

Non-native plants that are either invasive, attract invasive species or remove access to an important food source  (e.g. fewer flowers for bees and birds, an invasive plant that prevents native plants from growing, a plant that attracts pests such as non-native wasps).

Litter from your guests or general operations, either on your property or in the areas around it (e.g. cigarette butts on the beach, plastic cups and straws blowing in the sea or a stream).

Food waste (including compost) not being contained well enough to prevent animals from accessing it as a non-natural food source.

Food waste attracting pests such as rats that have a negative impact on native species (e.g. rats eating birds eggs or spreading diseases to other species).

Remedy:

Pathways and access roads should be clearly marked and have clear signage explaining why it is important to stay on designated areas.

Remove invasive plants from your grounds and encourage your neighbours to do the same.

Plan to replace non-native vegetation with native options, especially ones that are known to support local wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds.

Assess litter to establish the source and if you can, reduce or eliminate it (e.g. stop offering plastic straws).

Place bins that can properly contain waste in areas where you are finding the most litter.

Take steps to properly contain food waste to prevent access by wild animals or pests.

COMPLYING WITH LOCAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Travelife wants to be sure that you are complying with all relevant laws and regulations relating to animal welfare and protecting biodiversity, and have any necessary licences and permits.

Once you have an idea of the how your business can impact biodiversity and animal welfare, you should set targets and goals to make improvements.

Targets are usually numbers and they will need to be measured against a starting point and have a measurable deadline.  Ideally, you should have at least one short-term and one long-term target.  Here are some examples:

Work with our community to reduce the amount of litter collected from the annual beach clean by 50% by the end of 2020.

Replace 90% of plants with native species by 2025.

Goals can still include numbers, but they are usually about projects or actions.  You still need to know your starting point, have a deadline and be specific so it is easy to see if you succeeded.  You should also include a mixture of short and long-term plans.  Here are some examples:

Check all of the activities, attractions and entertainment we promote to our guests against the Travelife List of Unacceptable Practices by the end of 2020.

Build a fence along our current beach access pathway to prevent guests from walking on the sand dunes by 2021.

Build a butterfly garden with plants that support butterfly populations by 2025.

Your targets and goals should be:

Specific and easy for anybody to understand.

Easy to measure so that you can clearly see if they have been achieved.

Relevant and achievable. For example, there is no point in setting a goal that you cannot afford to implement or spending time on an area where you cannot have a lot of impact.

Have a deadline. This will help keep everyone on track.

Travelife expects Certified Members to have a continuous improvement cycle.  That means that you will need to complete the following steps at least once every year:

Reassess your operations each year to look for ways to improve your impact on biodiversity and animal welfare.

Review how well you are doing with reaching your targets and achieving your goals.

Recommend improvements to make over the next year.

Set new short-term goals and targets.

Include your findings in an annual report that is reviewed and discussed by senior management.

Include the appropriate parts of your findings in your annual public sustainability report. This normally includes progress against current goals and targets along with any new goals and targets.

We have produced a checklist to help you assess your performance each year that you can find in the Member Zone.

Appendix I and II

Travelife Animal Welfare Requirements and List of Unacceptable Practices

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 The five main things that you can do to support animal welfare and biodiversity:

  1. Implement procurement policies and procedures that favour sustainable products and services.
  2. Stop offering or promoting activities that can harm animals and biodiversity.
  3. Help local ecosystems to develop and flourish by protecting sensitive areas and planting the right vegetation.
  4. Educate your guests about the things they can do to support biodiversity and animal welfare in your destination.
  5. Work with your community on initiatives that protect, support and develop biodiversity.

We have listed many ideas of how you can support animal welfare and biodiversity to help get you started.

Litter

Reducing the amount of waste you produce is one of the best ways to control litter.

Composting your own food waste for use as a fertilizer on your own gardens is a great way to reuse waste but you need to make sure it is well contained so that wild animals and pests cannot access this as a food source. Eating this kind of food could harm wildlife and they could distribute it as litter.

Conduct a litter assessment both on and around your property. See if you can identify litter that is coming from your guests, staff or general operations then think of ways to improve, such as reducing the use of items that commonly end up as litter and/or better placement of bins so they are easier for guests to use.

A common source of litter is items blowing out of bins so replace open-top bins with closed-top options, or any other solution that will do a better job of containing litter.

If you have an outdoor bar or dining area, consider eliminating things that easily blow away, such as paper napkins, aluminium cans, straws, plastic cups and bottles. Here are some ways you could address that:

Replace plastic items with reusable options, or at least heavier options that are less likely to blow away.

When serving guests, pour items from plastic bottles or aluminium cans into their glasses instead of leaving them on the table or bar for them to pour.

In outdoor dining areas, decant water into glass jugs or reusable bottles instead of leaving a plastic bottle on the table.

Ask guests if they want a straw or paper napkin instead of automatically serving drinks with them.

Whenever it is safe to replace plastic cups with glass or metal reusable alternatives, you should do so.

Educate your guests about the harm that litter causes to your community and to wildlife.

Other pollution

By complying with the Travelife Standard you will already be addressing many of the pollutants your property produces through good management of energy, water, waste and hazardous substances.  Here are some other ways you can help reduce pollution that harms biodiversity:

Sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate can be damaging to coral reefs. This could even cause harm when these chemicals end up in waste water from guest showering.  Properties near reefs should research this issue and implement appropriate measures that also factor in sun safety for guests.  There are many reef-safe sunscreens on the market that do not contain these chemicals.

Noise pollution from activities that include motorised boats, jet skis, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles (4x4, ATVs, dirt bikes) can interfere with the natural activities of animals, either by scaring them or confusing them. Consider ways that any such activities that you offer or promote can be changed to reduce these negative impacts.  If you feel that you do not have any influence on this, you should consider informing guests about the potential harm these can cause.

Light pollution can confuse wildlife in a way that disrupts migration, feeding and breeding. You should conduct some research on whether there is wildlife in your destination that could be affected by this and find out the best ways to make any necessary changes. This is particularly important if you are near a beach where sea turtles are nesting as artificial light can disorient hatchlings and lead them away from the sea. 

Animal welfare and wildlife protection

In addition to complying with the Travelife Standard, here are some other ways your business can support animal welfare:

Procure animal products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs etc.) from suppliers that treat their animals properly. In some destinations these will be easy to identify through certifications or endorsements from reputable animal welfare organisations.  At other destinations you might have to do a bit more research by consulting with local animal welfare groups or visiting the websites of similar groups in other countries.  This is a way to use your influence as a buyer to encourage better practices and you will have even more influence if you team up with other businesses in your community or other hotels in your chain/group.

Work with your community to support initiatives that use humane solutions to deal with stray cats and dogs.

Educate your guests about the importance of not interfering with free-roaming wildlife at your property and/or destination. This includes discouraging them from feeding or petting wild animals, as well as activity that could frighten animals or otherwise disturb their natural behaviours.

Use your business influence within your destination to speak out against tourism activities that may appear on the Travelife List of Unacceptable Practices, encouraging other businesses to follow your lead by not supporting these activities. Businesses that involve these unacceptable practices are more likely to improve if they feel pressured economically to do so.

Ask your suppliers to reduce, reuse or eliminate packaging. If that is not possible then ask them to find more sustainable alternatives, e.g. using recycled shredded paper to protect fragile items instead of polystyrene.  You might be able to return the shredded paper to them so they can reuse it.

Dedicate some time to checking that products that claim they are environmentally friendly or biodegradable definitely are. For example, some plastics claim to be biodegradable yet still take decades to degrade and/or release toxic chemicals during the process.

If there is a specific animal issue in your destination, see if there are ways you can support it. This include things like problems with abandoned pets, mistreatment of working animals such as donkeys, urban development leading to shrinking natural habitats, disruption of breeding grounds.  Here are some things you might be able to do:

Raise funds to support initiatives that address these issues.

Invite speakers with specific expertise/experience to educate your staff and to give ideas about how you can help.

Provide information to guests about the issue and ways they can help.

Allow your staff an extra paid day off per year/season to volunteer for one of these initiatives.

Use your influence as a business owner to lobby for change.

General ideas

Set aside an area of your grounds to ‘grow wild’. This means not interfering with the growth of native grasses, shrubs and trees except to remove any non-native and/or invasive species.  In addition to supporting biodiversity, there are a few other ways you could use this:

Use signage or guided visits to the area to educate guests about why you have an untidy piece of garden and about local flora and fauna. This could be especially good for children’s activities.

Partner with a local school, college or university so they can use it to study things like the regeneration of native plants and local ecosystems.

Most parts of the world have native bees, birds and butterflies that are under threat. Research the best ways to support them such as planting vegetation that attracts them, avoiding certain pesticides and removing vegetation that attracts their predators.

Find out about sustainable methods for controlling invasive pests that can harm biodiversity in your area. For example, too many invasive wasps can devastate butterflies, and rats can raid bird nests for eggs.

Build fenced or roped pathways that cross sensitive areas like sand dunes, native grassland and areas that are being regenerated so that people are discouraged from trampling on or polluting these places. Consider erecting signs that not only explain why people should keep to the pathways, but also about the wildlife you are protecting.

Educate guests about what they can do to protect biodiversity. Here are some examples:

How to enjoy water activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, boating and swimming responsibly.

Why it is important to not collect things like shells, stones and plants from natural areas.

How to take nature walks and bike rides (and longer treks) in a responsible manner – bringing their rubbish back to the hotel for proper disposal, sticking to pathways, not disturbing or feeding wildlife, sanitary and hygiene advice if there are no toilets available in the area.

How to deal with unwanted insects or other animals guests find in or around their room. This is particularly relevant to destinations where there are things like native bats, important moths, snakes, spiders and other creatures that scare your guests!  You should have a process in place so that guests can notify your staff who can arrange for their quick, safe and humane removal.

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Biodiversity, wildlife and animal welfare checklist English | Español

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UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has information about ecosystems from a global perspective

ABTA Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism

CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) has information about endangered species including a current global list

Born Free is a reputable organisation concerned with the treatment of wild animals, especially those in captivity.

CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity)  has webpages about biodiversity in tourism

The Travel Foundation has wildlife information and resources, many of which are international