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Sustainably-Designed Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Hilton Digital Key

Hospitality Goes Green: Hotels Focusing on Sustainability

Krystal Paisley

November 8, 2017

Sustainability. It’s a hot topic in almost every industry today. Grocers are looking for more energy efficiency, retailers are being transparent about what they’re doing to help the environment, and local governments are looking towards green infrastructure solutions. It makes sense that everyone’s home away from home, hotels, are also focusing on sustainability.


Eco-friendly, or “green,” hotel initiatives are occurring from local boutique hotels to major luxury chains. Sustainability is now a key feature in the hospitality industry. Each brand is different, but here are some ways that hotels are becoming more sustainable.


  • From the ground up. When building a new hotel, brands are looking past traditional materials and styles. Some brands focus on recycled materials, like the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, which was built with 85 percent recycled material. The Mandarin Oriental also takes sustainable building design into consideration, maximizing the use of natural light, which reduces electricity use.


  • Those little cards add up. It may not seem like much, but those cards asking you if you’d like to reuse your linens really make a difference. By leaving the card, you indicate to housekeeping that you’ll reuse your bedding and towels, reducing the number of washes.


    How much of a difference can you (and the hotel) make? It’s estimated that a 150-room hotel can conserve 72,000 gallons of water and 480 gallons of laundry soap every year when placing cards in its guest rooms. Who knew a small, laminated card could make such a difference?


  • Say goodbye to the plastic key. Okay, you may still be using a plastic key card in the near future, but hotels are making changes to how you access your room and other hotel amenities. Less plastic key cards means less waste.


    One option is to move away from the PVC key cards and opt for more environmentally-friendly and recyclable materials. Alternative materials include paper, wood, and a more earth-friendly bioplastic.


    Another non-PVC option is foregoing the physical card and going digital. The Hilton brand is rolling out its digital key, offering it to Hilton Honors members at select locations. Simply by using a smartphone, customers can access rooms, check out the fitness center, access the parking garage, and more.


  • More recycling, less waste. In-room recycling bins are becoming the norm across hotel brands. Recycling for basics, like newspapers and soda cans, are beginning to become an expectation.


    Recycling isn’t limited to just those items, however. The Clean the World program partners with hotels to recycle soap and other toiletries. Through its Hotel Recycling Program, Clean the World distributes recycled soap and hygiene products to families and children in countries with high death rates do to pneumonia and cholera. Since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 41 million bars of soap in 118 countries.



Above are just a few of the ways hotels are getting more sustainable. While corporate initiatives are a key to sustainability, the physical hotel also plays a role.


Seem like a daunting task to transform your traditional hotel into a more sustainable space? Don’t worry, ms can help!


Our hotel industry and sustainability experts can create an environmentally-friendly hotel. ms has 30+ years hospitality experience and 20+ sustainability professionals on staff to meet your project’s needs.


Contact Nikki Wildman at to get started.

Photo Credits

By Supercarwaar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Hilton Digital Key website