Green cleaning supports the health of staff and guests
An environmentally-friendly hotel, also known as a green hotel or an eco-hotel, offers accommodations that reduce its carbon footprint and have less impact on the environment. The owners of these hotels have taken steps to improve energy efficiency and support the health and wellness of its guests and staff.
Hotels have a high turnaround with people from all walks of life coming through their doors. The likelihood of having guests with allergies, skin conditions or breathing issues is high. Therefore, providing guests with an environment that has been thoroughly cleaned with environmentally-friendly products is not only appreciated but sometimes necessary for the health of certain guests.
The results of a 2018 study done by Booking.com “indicates that the green travel trend continues to gain momentum with a large majority of global travelers (87%) stating that they want to travel sustainably, and nearly four in ten (39%) confirm that they often or always manage to do so. However, 48% indicate they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably, suggesting that while promising strides are being made for a greener future, there is still plenty of room to turn intentions into action.”
Providing guests with an environment that has been thoroughly cleaned with environmentally-friendly products is not only appreciated but sometimes necessary for the health of certain guests.
Hotel cleaning products are the unsung heroes of the housekeeping department. They ensure a property meets guests’ expectations, and the right products save staff time and resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the benefits of choosing less hazardous products is that they are biodegradable with a low toxicity, low volatile organic compound (VOC) content and low life-cycle energy usage. Taking steps to use environmentally-friendly products can also improve air quality and reduce water and ambient air pollution.
The overall best value when purchasing green cleaning products takes into account their performance, price, availability, regulatory requirements, and environmental impact. Purchasers should examine as many relevant product attributes as possible, recognizing that tradeoffs are inevitable. For example, one product may be made with renewable resources, while another product may have a lower VOC content—choosing the best option for your property is key. Purchasers should be especially careful in interpreting vague or generic claims that do not specify how products are environmentally-friendly. Purchasers should ask vendors and manufacturers offering any green cleaning products to clearly define their claims before purchasing.
Hotels must also go a step further and invest in green cleaning equipment for floor and carpet care that uses resources minimally. For example, Green Seal, the agency that provides environmental certification in the US, recommends vacuum cleaners that comply with Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Program requirements and work at a sound level of less than 70 decibels. Carpet extractors used for deep cleaning must also achieve CRI’s Seal of Approval certification. If the equipment is battery-operated, gel batteries are the preferred environmentally-friendly option. Guidelines also state that machines must be “ergonomically designed to minimize vibration, noise and user fatigue.”
Green cleaning is a method that looks holistically at the entire cleaning operation of a facility.
The number one reason for green cleaning is health. Green cleaning is a method that looks holistically at the entire cleaning operation of a facility; when purchasing green products and implementing certified green cleaning procedures, a facility can benefit by reducing operation costs, improving indoor air quality (IAQ), increasing productivity, improving aesthetics, and reducing environmental impact and the usage of non-renewable resources. Hotel management should search for innovative and detailed programs to assist in achieving its green goals with a focus on the right products that support the health wellness of staff and guests.
By Gregory Wyles, President, Hospitality Cleaning Solutions
ENGAGING STAFF IN AN ECO-FRIENDLY PROGRAM
Going green is no longer a trend in the hospitality industry—it’s a must. With all the current advancements in green products, there are many ways to be environmentally-friendly during cleaning procedures; hotels should have a systematic green cleaning approach in both public areas and the guest rooms. Educating staff with information regarding the eco-friendly plan and sharing the results of such actions at departmental meetings is also necessary. It is essential for staff to buy into the green cleaning processes that benefit their health and safety and contribute to guest satisfaction and the reduced waste of resources.
Public areas create one of the first impressions for a guest when they arrive and can immediately indicate how a property engages in eco-friendly practices. By instructing staff to place a recycling can right next to garbage cans, guests become aware of the eco-friendly engagement level of the property and can consequently make a cognitive choice to participate. Another addition to public areas is the inclusion of live plants that reflect a green focus. At Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, both of our lobbies have live plants that go beyond creating space barriers, but also provide a beautiful environment for staff to work in, contribute to the air quality and present our properties’ engagement with eco-friendly practices.
Teamwork and communication in all departments, especially Engineering, Guest Services, and Housekeeping, are key to effectively implementing an eco-friendly program. Guiding staff to pay attention to small things like using recycled printer paper and plastic key cards can make a huge impact.
Furthermore, hotel properties can utilize an electronic dispatch program by sending requests via electronic devices instead of pen and paper, which can both diminish waste and make the dispatch process more effective and easier for staff.
Staff must engage in the proper disposal of materials for your property to be successful in its ecofriendly program; otherwise, everything you did on the top end will float away like a cloud into thin air.
Additionally, the loading dock area is where many necessary items flow through to the property, so ensure your property has enough support for an effective recycling program on the back end with recycling dumpsters for staff to place mixed use and cardboard materials. Staff must engage in the proper disposal of materials for your property to be successful in its eco-friendly program; otherwise, everything you did on the top end will float away like a cloud into thin air.
The right products and chemicals play a huge role in being effective as well. At Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, we’ve guided our staff to be engaged in a colored microfiber rags cleaning process that mirrors the color of the cleaning chemicals. This helps to organize their effective usage of chemicals, which prevents possibilities of cross contamination by storing the chemicals in mesh bags that are rewashable.
With the successful implementation of an eco-friendly cleaning program, your staff will buy into the process and understand the important role they play in not only the success of the hotel, but their own health and the health of their environment. Furthermore, your guests will be satisfied knowing they’ve stayed at a hotel with a successful environmentally-friendly focus.
By Tobin Leibin, Director of Housekeeping, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach