Hygiene and Sustainability: How to make both work?
— 17 experts shared their view
Just when it seemed as if single-use plastics were slowly becoming a thing of the past, COVID-19 hit the industry. The second half of 2019 had seen more and more industry leaders making public pledges to abandon a product group that had become the infamous representative of an old and immoral, linear economy.
A few months later, the former sustainability arch-enemy is experiencing a massive comeback as a hygiene hero. COVID-19 and the fear of future pandemics are radically challenging recent approaches to product circularity/re-use by imposing enhanced hygienic standards. Keeping a strong position against single-use items might impose dramatic acquisition costs and operational distress on businesses slowly recovering from their liquidity breakdown.
Whilst pondering the reputational risk of violating hygiene law on the one side and diminished sustainability efforts on the other, the former is likely to turn up trumps.
The battle for sterility might be won by detergents containing ingredients unlikely to biodegrade in wastewater. Laundry services might cause more emissions due to an average increase of the washing temperature.
Where lies the sweet spot between hygiene rule compliance and sustainability? Must there be a trade-off? Are there Best Practices to share?
Director of Standards and Accreditation at Hotel Resilient
With the new demand on the safety of guests and staff, it's no secret that Hotels will need to make drastic changes to the way they deliver services and offer amenities. Hotels will need to develop COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that address those changes. There are many recommendations about what hotels can do to combat the COVID-19 threat, but hotels should not follow guidelines blindly.
At Hotel Resilient, we help Hotels to educate themselves about how COVID-19 could spread around their hotel, how they can prevent that from happening, and how they can respond swiftly and effectively to an infection on-site. An informed hotel can then make better decisions about how to adjust their services and business practices to maintain safety during COVID-19. For instance, hotels do not need to use single plastic packaging in restaurants if they can ensure safe dishes and cutlery through enhanced cleaning protocols.
To help flush out COVID-19 from the air, hoteliers can increase natural ventilation over mechanical ventilation. At Hotel Resilient, our COVID-READY Standards focus on safety, but we also provide extensive material for hoteliers to learn how COVID-19 risk reduction strategies work. We believe that a fully informed hotelier can better tailor their COVID-19 SOPs to their unique business practices, including those addressing sustainability.