Laundry sustainability: Leaving it to the guest

This is part two in a series on laundry sustainability. Click here for part one: "Saving the environment and your bottom line."

Since a hotel can’t avoid washing linens, there are ways to lower the number of linens it will have to wash overall. Many hotels, such as the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, are allowing guests to opt out of daily bed linen and towel washes unless requested. If there is no request, the property will step in to wash the linens on a three-day rotation.

“I think everybody is on board with sustainability,” said Brandi Brooks, laundry manager at the hotel. “The average person is recycling more in their daily life, and we see that in how they recycle in the guestroom compared to in the past. Guests are doing a great job, and that comes back to help us.”

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“Our consumer target [at Econo Lodge] is changing with millennials,” said Craig Mustard, head of domestic brand management at Choice Hotels International. “They are looking for programs to participate in. A lot of our millennial guests are paying the bill themselves, and when they have a water bottle or aluminum can, they want to throw it away in the right place.”

Mustard also said that water re-use from washes is also an option, though hotels have to be careful due to the chemicals used in the wash process. However, this water is easily used for exterior irrigation. “As an economy hotel it was all about starting somewhere,” Mustard said. “We aren’t a green brand, but we wanted to do more than say ‘no’ to sustainable practices and do nothing. By getting franchisees involved, you can look

above the basics for efficiency and savings.” In terms of linen re-use, Brandi Brooks’ property red-flags stained linens during inventory, separating them from the remaining linens for spot treatment and re-washes. If the washes are not effective, or  a linen becomes torn, they are given to engineering for use as rags or to be recycled.

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