Reducing Plastic and Cutting Costs
Some resorts see significant financial benefits as a result of their eco-friendly initiatives.
In an effort to help “Save the Planet,” Hard Rock Hotels is carrying out one of its founding mottos through a variety of operational changes, including eliminating plastic straws at all of its properties worldwide. A commitment to eco-friendly projects has long been a cornerstone for the brand. “We want to do our part in making a difference when it comes to sustainability practices as a company,” says Chadi Bou Said, corporate operations director of RCD Hotels, which owns and operates the Hard Rock All Inclusive Collection. And, effective July 1, 2019, plastic straws will be removed at all resorts within the Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific region. By offering paper straws, upon request, the region will eliminate nearly 400,000 plastic straws per year.
To be sure, Hard Rock Hotels and Wyndham Destinations aren’t the only hospitality companies implementing green strategies. Eliminating plastic straws is one important step toward sustainable operations, but John Hodges, sustainability manager at Wyndham Destinations, has seen other efficiency projects across many properties. Among the winners of the RCI Green Award, Hodges says, “standout initiatives include planting herb gardens, forming staff-led green committees, employing rain water irrigation systems, and leveraging solar energy.”
The benefits of such programs can be significant. For Hard Rock Hotels, eliminating plastic straws has cut both expenses and pollution. “Not only have we significantly reduced costs, but we’ve also significantly reduced the amount of waste produced,” Bou Said says.
Hodges notes, however, that he sees more cost reductions from operational changes that increase energy efficiency than from eliminating plastics. Many RCI affiliates track their energy and water usage to meet targets. “It not only helps them reduce costs, but it also produces more-efficient sites and creates higher standards,” Hodges says.
While the financial benefits of green programs at hotels vary, establishing your resort as a champion for the environment can go a long way with guests—a less quantifiable, positive impact that is not to be underestimated. Establishing such initiatives is a way to align your brand with the values of your guests and invite them to join in your mission. At Hard Rock Hotels, Bou Said says, “Everyone has been supportive of the initiative to eliminate plastic. We see more conscientious guests wanting to do their part in helping the environment and community they are visiting.”