Best Practices for Sustainable Operations for Hotels, Guesthouses      and Community Lodges


  • Ensure that your property does to impede access to, disrupt water supplies or cause any form of damage or inconvenience to neighbouring communities.


  • Create a 'green team' at your property with the goal of continual improvement and scheduled re-evaluation and reporting.
  • Create an incentive program to encourage your staff to participate in and improve upon environmentally-friendly practices.
  • Put your sustainability policy and practices into writing and display in public and staff areas.
  • Provide yearly staff training on green practices throughout the buildings and grounds and put informational posters in break rooms and guest areas.
  • Under no circumstances employ children to complete work which is normally undertaken by adults and never under the age of 14. 
  • Ensure that children are protected against sexual exploitation at any time or place and that the Supplier and its employees follow the Child-Protection Code against sexual exploitation of children. Any suspicious behaviour from persons on the premises or on tour shall be reported to the local authorities.
  • Educate your staff to:
  • Turn off lights and turn down heating/air conditioning in unoccupied rooms and staff areas
  • Continually check for and respond to leaking taps and toilets
  • Close curtains to reduce the need air conditioning
  • Continually check for and electrical equipment left on but not in use.
  • Report opportunities to reduce resource consumption
  • Make sure all rooms have linen reuse cards for both towels and sheets

Water and Energy

  • Start a linen (both towels and sheets) reuse program in all guest rooms.
  • To reduce water use, consider using rainwater or grey water for purposes such as watering the gardens, toilet flushing or fire suppression systems.
  • Switch to drought resistant native plants in garden areas. Replace lawns with native ground cover.
  • Install low-flow showerheads and  aerators on all taps.
  • Switch to low flow or dual flush toilets/urinals and check regularly for leaks. Add a sign in all bathrooms letting people know how to report leaks.
  • Switch to LED regular and/or florescent lights in guest rooms, lobbies, and hallways.
  • Install keycard master switches or occupancy sensors in guest rooms that control lights, electronics, blinds and temperature settings.
  • Set the indoor temperature to 25° C or higher
  • Purchase energy saving appliances install and insulated windows in all areas of the property.
  • Make sure all waste-water is being properly treated either through an onsite or municipal sewage system.

Recycling and Waste

  • Provide guest room recycler baskets for newspaper, paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard, metal and plastic.
  • Provide recycling bins in public areas, in the kitchen and in the back office to make recycling as easy as possible.
  • Ensure that all hazardous waste (i.e., paint, coating, printer cartridges, mercury CFL bulbs, electronic equipment, batteries, etc.) is stored and disposed of safely.

Food Services

  • Buy organic, locally-grown food and/or plant an organic garden to provide fresh produce for your guests. Look for foods certified as organic and Fair Trade Certified.
  • Take steps to reduce food waste by reducing overly-generous portion sizes and not over shopping.
  • Donate leftover food to a local nonprofit organization and/or compost. Also compost garden waste and biodegradable products.
  • Provide reusable items such as cloth napkins, glass cups, silver wear, ceramic dishes, etc. with all food and beverage services.


  • Purchase plants that are native to your area.
  • Consider adding a composting or worm composting bin to create important nutrients for your garden and an eco-friendly way to dispose of food waste.

Gift Shop

  • If your property has a gift shop, sell only sustainable, fair trade products. Promote particularly locally produced souvenirs


  • Create a green purchasing policy for cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides, office supplies, etc. throughout the property.
  • Buy environmentally-friendly paper (copier paper, toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels, etc.).
  • Minimize the amount of paper used for each guest and in the office.
  •  Buy locally produced furniture.
  • Buy office and guest amenity products that contain recycled material.
  • If offering dry cleaning services, use nontoxic, biodegradable dry-cleaning solvent substitutes.
  • Buy nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning, laundry and dishwashing products, preferably locally produced.
  • Buy organic, biodegradable, fair trade, locally-produced, cruelty-free guest amenity products (hair and body care, coffee and tea, etc.) with minimal or recycled, plastic-free packaging whenever possible.

Guests and Guest Rooms

  • Stock a central library with local green guides, hiking and biking guides and information about the local environment and conservation efforts. Include a book swap section.
  • Provide your guests with bicycles, walking maps, and information on public transportation.
  • Donate leftover guest amenities, old furniture and appliances to charities.
  • Donate used soap and shampoo to people in need through local shelters or charities.
  • Provide glass cups and ceramic mugs (instead of plastic) for in-room beverages. Place cups and mugs upside down on paper doilies (instead of covering opening with a plastic wrapping).
  • Whenever possible, buy food and guest amenities in bulk (i.e., use refillable hair and skin care dispensers).

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