The hospitality industry, in particular, is forever on a quest for sustainable solutions to conserve natural resources and reduce the carbon footprint while delivering the best customer experience. Here in Dubai, the government has been encouraging and rewarding pioneering hotels and hotel apartments that have made significant efforts to support environmental awareness in their own businesses and within the tourism industry in Dubai through an initiative called the ‘Dubai Green Tourism Awards’. The region is also experiencing growth in tourism, and with the Expo 2020 on the horizon, the hospitality industry is expected to undergo immense transformation in terms of their services, enhanced guest experience and adapting sustainable solutions.
Take for instance the TRYP by Wyndham Dubai - a part of the Wyndham Hotel Group - which launched a unique ‘LUVE (Love Your Vibrant Earth) by TRYP’ concept last year to focus on the key components to reduce waste and implement reusing of materials. This unique concept was developed from the pre-opening phase of the hotel. We speak to Jo-Ella Moore, General Manager of TRYP by Wyndham Dubai, who loves challenges and believes that standards need to be constantly evolved to meet the expectations of today’s travelers. Moore says, “There is more of a focus now than ever before on being sustainable while also meeting guests’ expectations when it comes to quality, meaning we need to constantly find new ways to inspire the next generation of travellers. If you have a strategy and support from the hotel team, hotel chain and the owners, then you’re on course to achieve the set goals.”
Talking about this initiative, Moore informs that the department heads along with the team of Trypsters came up with various environmental policies and were committed to executing them. “Trypsters are a group of educated millennials that understand the effect of a hotel on the environment - something that affects everyone deeply, and by taking a stance on being sustainable and demonstrating how this can be successfully achieved, we hope to inspire other hotels to follow us.”
She adds, “As hoteliers, we are always looking at ways to save on expenses and by being sustainable, we can both reduce waste and increase the bottom line. Whether hotels and companies choose to implement green policies like our LUVE initiative to decrease expenses for the environment or to give back to the community they operate in, the benefits associated with being sustainable can be hugely rewarding to many stakeholders.”
The green revolution
Recently, as a part of the LUVE campaign, the hotel unveiled its green initiatives. Starting with eliminating the use of plastic bottles and installing a glass water bottle refilling system by WaterLogic in its hotel premises, the hotel has fully revolutionised the water refilling system in the region. Often, plastic bottle-free initiatives still see much waste going in to the landfill; hence the glass bottles, once used, are cleaned, refilled and labeled in-house. “By providing safer drinking water to the guests and staff, we can take ownership of how our water is developed, stored and maintained. TRYP will be the first hotel in Dubai to become PET water bottle free and the first hotel in the world to undergo this project with WaterLogic,” informs Moore.
Another revolutionary step is the use of sustainable paper toweling including toilet paper and tissues made from recycled cardboard - an initiative exclusively created for the hotel. “The idea came when we were looking at sustainable alternatives to replace the regular white paper tissues with tissues made from bamboo. We were then introduced to Queenex - a local tissue paper manufacturer, and together we worked around an initiative to create tissues and paper toweling from 100 per cent locally recycled cardboard. We are the first hotel in the region to start using this locally manufactured recycled brown tissue paper,” explains Mohamed Hassan, Executive Housekeeper, TRYP by Wyndham Dubai.
Hassan informs that whether it is for cleaning, laundry or stewarding, the hotel has completely switched to integrating green products. By making this switch, they are reducing the use of products with chlorine bleach and petrochemical derivatives. “We use 100 per cent eco-friendly and readily biodegradable products from Diversey that have been certified by either Green Seal, UL Environment (ECOLOGO, Green guard, Green guard Gold), USDA (BioPrefered), EPA (Safer Choice). These more natural products have demonstrated performance and are less irritating to guests, employees and the environment. We are also using microfibre dusters that will last up to 500 washes and 100 per cent biodegradable fragrances in all public area toilets,” says Hassan
Training the staff
All the departments of the hotel were equally involved in creating the procedures, operational flows and finalising the new projects. There is also an ongoing training programme for the staff on the use of excess utilities, chemicals and waste as well as the implications they have on costs and the environment. “For training the staff on adapting to these green initiatives, we created the LUVE policy and training videos specifically to educate them on all our green initiatives and how we are successfully implementing them. Besides, we have a LUVE activation booth located in the hotel lobby that showcases our green initiatives to both guests and Trypsters,” mentions Moore.
Facts & figures
Surprisingly, by implementing the water dispenser, the hotel has removed one and a half skips of plastic bottle wastage per day, thus saving a total of AED 13 per bin in waste and recycling expenses and a total saving of AED 6,643 per year! Hassan says, “From our findings and statistics from October 2017 to October 2018, being totally PET bottle free will reduce waste of 306,630 plastic bottles from TRYP over a 12-month period.”
He adds, “We have removed 468,000 plastic bottles in a year by replacing disposable bathroom amenities with bulk bathroom amenities, which hold up to 300 ml bath and hair products. All the packaging and dispensers are also made using 100 per cent recycled plastics, verified by international standards from Intertek. In addition, our combs and toothbrush handles are also entirely made of recycled materials. Also, the bathroom amenities such as soap and cotton tips/buds are wrapped in a recycled plastic film to protect and avoid wastage.”
Going further, the hotel has also installed chemical dispensers in both housekeeping and laundry departments that can be programmed to set the required dosage to avoid wastage. “We also have a policy to completely avoid using dry cleaning machines or solvent chemicals in the hotel. Besides, the linen used across the entire hotel is made from a combination of 80 per cent cotton and 20 per cent polyester thus saving 20 per cent of water and energy consumption during laundry,” informs Hassan. The hotel has also installed 2 x 250ml water refill tubes in the flush tank of all the guests’ rooms. “By this move, we have reduced our water consumption and save around 528 gallons of water per day and 15,840 gallons per month,” Hassan adds.
Moore states that some of the initiatives that were implemented in the first quarter of 2019 were planned a year ago as there is a huge amount of planning, research and product testing required before being 100 per cent convinced that the solution is appropriate to the hotel’s needs, both operationally and from a guest standard perspective. “There are many products available that mention the word ‘eco’ on the bottle, but you need to ensure that they have the relevant UAE certifications and internationally recognised certificates to support the statements. It’s essential to consider all feedback and suggestions as well as seek guidance from experts - it’s a team effort,” avers Moore.
The way forward
Meanwhile, the hotel has just entered a partnership with ‘Diversey’ for their ‘Soap For Hope’ initiative - which collects soaps from hotels for recycling, then ships them to various developing countries. The soap is later reprocessed by the locals and pressed into new 500g bricks. This project not only allows for waste reduction but also improves the standard of living for a safer and cleaner environment. Besides, the hotel plans to have a glass recycling station for the community to use to breakdown their glass waste and make new functional items. “Dubai schools need a lot of items for their arts and crafts classes and we are happy to provide it to them. It’s amazing to see the hotel’s waste items being put to good use and supporting children’s educational development. We also work with Imdaad for general recycling of paper, plastic, cans and oil as well as Beit Al Khair for old clothing and linens. We also provide our cardboards to Queenex tissue paper company who supplies the tissues and hand towels to the hotel made from recycled paper,” says Moore.
This year, the hotel also plans to replace the showerhead and tap aerators in the guest and staff bathrooms to save over 62 per cent of water while reducing the amount of water being consumed per minute without compromising on the quality of the guest experience. Moore reiterates, “This initiative will reduce water consumption from an average of 17 litres per minute to a massive of 6.43 litres per minute. This in turn will further reduce the amount of power consumed to heat and maintain the water. We also compost wet waste that our kitchens and restaurants produce and use it for our gardens in the hotel’s premises and our external garden contractor’s requirements. Once food waste is removed from the waste stream, 20 percent more recyclables are recovered, as the nonfood waste component is saved from contamination by food stuff. Everyone taking part in this initiative is being educated about recycling food waste and the use of organic plant food.
Apart from all these green initiatives, last year as part of their CSR activity the hotel gave away surprise gifts to the patients of Al Zahra Hospital, Dubai and overnight accommodation to their families. Besides, for the breast cancer awareness month in October last year the hotel donated real hair wigs to the The Little Princess Trust. Evidently, the hotel stands true to their slogan: Reducing, Reusing and Giving Back to all!