Often, you are asked to use your towels several times when staying at a hotel. Probably, you already experienced that towels are replaced anyway, no matter what you decide. That way, hotels worldwide produce tons of towels every year. However, a single washing cycle of 10 kg requires at least 50 liters of water and about 1.2 kWh of electricity — costs and amounts of detergents are not included. Some large hotels with 700 rooms have already saved 125,000 towels per year by consistently implementing the multiple use of laundry! This is equivalent to approximately 129,000 liters of water and 1.6 kg of CO2.
Besides resources such as electricity and water, the use of conventional detergents also affects the environment. The fragrances, as well as bleaching and antibacterial ingredients, preservatives and fillers often are not or not completely filtered out by sewage treatment plants and thus find their way into the environment. (As we have reported elsewhere, micro-plastic deriving from laundry also plays an important role — > find the article here). Once in the environment these substances harm the environment and our health alike by destroying important microorganisms and triggering allergies. Nature is particularly burdened by the contained salts, phosphates and bleach.
On holiday and traveling
Of course, the subject isn’t most relevant on vacation, though, each of us does laundry weekly. Therefore, it’s worth taking a closer look at the subject: There are only good reasons for hotels to swap to environmentally friendly washing methods or to avoid daily towel changes consistently. By the way, this is an important criterion for the Green Pearls® partner hotels. That’s why, of course, we’ll also show you three examples having solved the “laundry problem,“ and point out some hints for you at home!
As with all other suppliers and partners, environmentally friendly processes are important to the SCHWARZWALD PANORAMA when choosing the external laundry. For instance, it includes the use of Ecolab-certified detergent, as well as the efficient, modern and resource-efficient power and heating supply of the machines. In addition to these technical backgrounds, the SCHWARZWALD PANORAMA also takes guests’ wishes regarding room service very seriously, which we love! Since recently, small lavender bags are available in the rooms (besides the usual notices of towel change). You can hang them on your door knob so the cleaners know whether or not you want room service.
The organic boutique hotel LA VIMEA in South Tyrol and the Bio-Agrivilla i pini in Tuscany do their laundry in-house. The most important tip here (and of course also at home 😉 ) is to fully load the machines when running. In regard to their philosophy, only vegan and biodegradable detergents are used. A dosing system and a water recovery plant reduce the water and energy consumption at the LA VIMEA. The location of the i pini in Tuscany is quite beneficial: The warm climate dries the laundry in no time! Bed sheets and napery are made of linen, so ironing can be entirely avoided.
These examples show how the right approach not only protects the environment, but also provides a financial incentive for hotels at the same time. By the way, guests also benefit from the gentle cleaning methods. A win-win situation for everyone!
Our tips: What you can do at home
Washing not only plays a role when traveling, but also at home. We summarized some tips from above and noted down other ideas on how to do the laundry yourself more consciously:
- Use eco-friendly detergent: Various possibilities exist, certified eco-detergent, homemade detergents from chestnuts (link), washing nuts or washing balls with effective microorganisms
- Only run the washing machine when it is full.
- Uses a bag that filters the micro plastic fibers (e.g. GuppyFriend)
- Especially in winter, drying in small apartments is a challenge, especially due to the high humidity. Don’t forget to ventilate (at least 10 minutes in the morning and evening) to avoid mould formation.
- Air your clothes: Neither the textiles nor the machine live long when excessively frequent washing.
- Softener is for softies 😉 If you like a portion of extra fragrance, you can use a few drops of essential oil. For laundry without fragrance, but nicely soft use a dash of vinegar.
- Check out the machine’s manual: eco-programs and instructions for careful use are described there (for the benefit of the machine and your clothes.)
- Reduce the temperature: far too often the temperature is too high when washing.