June 16, 2021
The calendar year has become very busy with environment-related awareness days lately, it can be hard to keep up. There are several very well publicized days – such as Earth Day – which most of us are familiar with. But there are others which are well worth looking at too – these nationally or internationally recognized days can often help to raise awareness and remind us not only of the bigger picture, but also how we can make a difference.
This week alone sees World Refill Day take place on 16th June, followed by Clean Air Day on the 17th. On the surface, these may seem more relevant to us as individuals – e.g. are we using our refillable coffee cups and water bottles instead of purchasing throwaway items? Do we travel by car only when we need to (or indeed not at all)?
But what about our hospitality businesses? How can we have a relevant impact there?
Let’s start with World Refill Day, organized by City to Sea – an environmental organisation on a mission to stop plastic pollution. The problem of single-use plastics has been well publicized in recent years. Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once, and then thrown away. While great strides have been made to reduce single-use items through legislation banning certain items, and introducing small charges for items like plastic bags, the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to a surge in certain throwaway items such as masks and has also caused some hesitancy with regards to re-usable items.
Hospitality businesses can help instantly by allowing guests and customers to use their own re-usable containers. City to Sea has a great video showing how to offer a contactless experience. You could also consider gifting your teams re-usable (and branded) cups or water bottles – setting a good example and highlighting your business.
A longer-term way of helping the fight against throwaway items in your business is to look at how many single-use items are still in use. You may have removed cotton buds and plastic straws, but what about shower caps? Sauce sachets, sugar wrappings or even cling-film in the restaurant? Consider if these items could be removed or replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives, or if their use could be reduced without negatively impacting the guest experience.
Hot on the heels of World Refill Day comes Clean Air Day. This is a UK-wide awareness event – but the message is relevant wherever you are. The message behind the day is to improve understanding around air pollution and how it affects our health. Every year, air pollution contributes to around 36,000 deaths in the UK, and the World Health Organisation has estimated that globally it kills more than 7 million people annually. It is recognized as the largest environmental health risk we face today.
Reducing your energy consumption is one-way businesses can help combat air pollution. Energy efficiency improvements can reduce both indoor and outdoor concentrations of air pollutants. Considerate Group have developed an energy management platform – Con-Serve™ – and an app – fluttr – to help hospitality businesses monitor and reduce their energy consumption, therefore also reducing harmful emissions and operate more efficiently.