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Discover a variety of tips to improve the sustainability of your tourism business.

For many, resolutions don’t last longer than the first month of the year. Don’t overwhelm yourself on the first week of the year and try this step-by-step resolution guide. With a little effort you can make a big difference in maintaining a sustainable lifestyle!

January: Walk, bike or use public transport

The effects on the environment of using the car are many and of course, all negative. This phenomenon represents 20% of the worlds total carbon dioxide pollution according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

February: Be a sustainability ambassador

Climate change is an issue that concerns everyone living on this planet. Many people are not aware of the consequences individual behavior can cause on the environment, so please spread the word. We as consumers and users should take responsibility of our actions and let people know that we should take care and motivate a conversion into responsible citizens.

March: Stop accepting single-use plastics

Plastic usage has become an increasingly hot topic over the past year, parallel to an increase in awareness campaigns about the health of our oceans. Plastic pollution directly  affects the livelihood of marine life and consequently finds its way into the food chain, affecting us humans. To get tips on how to accomplish this resolution click here.

April: Eat local

Transportation is one of the biggest causes of air pollution. By consuming local food and therefore, cutting down on food miles, you are diminishing the ecological impact of your food as overseas plane flights or long truck rides are not needed. To find out more reasons why is this good for the environment press here.

May: Reduce meat and dairy

As explained in our previous Green Tip, cutting down your meat and dairy consumption is one of the main ways to reduce your environmental footprint.

June: Avoid wasting food

This one is definitely a win-win situation as if you complete this resolution you will not only help the environment but as well take care of your wallet. A recommendation would be to set a weekly menu and buy purely what the menu states. PATA has been campaigning against food waste with its BUFFET initiative.

July: Use ecofriendly sunscreen

Not many people know that regular sunscreen is very damaging to most natural species living in the seas and oceans, specially to coral reefs. Nevertheless, it is indeed a problem that must be fixed, and we can do this by buying reef-friendly sunscreen available in most organic stores or herbalists. Some examples are:
Raw Elements Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Reef Safe (SPF 30+) 
Blue Lizard Sunscreen, Sensitive (SPF 30+)
Thinksport Oxybenzone Free Sunscreen (SPF 50+)

For more tips on travel essentials press here.

August: Eat seasonally

Apart from looking out for the environment (by reducing food miles for food brought in out of season), you would be supporting local farmers instead. Seasonal produce is guaranteed to be fresher and tastier.

September: Give a wide berth to printing

It is quite obvious that there is nowadays less need to utilize paper. Starting from emails, to E-tickets and E-books it seems that printing is a thing of the past, and our mother Earth loves it!

October: Turn off your devices at night

Once you are off to bed, you likely won’t be using your phone or computer. Normally, we think about turning off lights, but we don’t usually turn off devices such as the wi-fi or unplugging our microwave.

November: Use cold water for your laundry

Washing clothing in hot water is not always the best option – some clothes may shrink, and others may see stains being set in. Use cold water to treat your clothing gently, and reduce the amount of energy used to heat water. You will surely see a difference in your energy or gas bills.

December: Resist excessive consumerism

Christmas is quintessentially the month of absurd consumerism- simple living has been underestimated for decades, especially during this time of the year. Just think about where all these commodities will end up when you find no more utility to it, or even all the indirect aspects of it such as the packaging, the transportation and the clutter. If you need tips on how to reduce it press here.


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We conducted our last PATA staff knowledge development lunch workshop of the year on December 7, 2018. Our BUFFET campaign partner, Thai-SOS, joined us at the PATA Headquarters to raise awareness of issues surrounding food waste and to empower us to share this knowledge with others. You can read the full recap here.

At the end of the workshop, the PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Department challenged staff members to a low-waste lifestyle week. This challenge aimed to put the staff’s new knowledge from the workshop into practice and also to serve as a way to encourage conscious consumption and waste reduction of food in its entire cycle (including purchasing, preparation, during consumption, etc.). To participate, staff members had to post pictures of their meals (before, after or both) and specify in the caption what conscious efforts they had made to refuse any form of avoidable waste.

In this week’s Green Tips, we are sharing our new knowledge with you so you can also try to adapt your lifestyle, even at work.

1. Have lunch together

Colleagues who lunch together stay together. Better yet, they can also help finish your fries or the cucumber on your chicken rice that you always pick out. In PATA, our pantry’s drawers store enough reusable durable containers that staff members can easily carry with them to take-away some dishes from local hawker stalls. You can find PATA staff members eating their green curries, som tams and ka prows, family-style at the pantry. This not only saves them money in the long run, it also keeps food waste on the low.

               

Say no to plastic caps & straws

2. For the love of coffee

The day does not officially start until you get your first cup of coffee. We can all agree that most of the time, it’s just much easier to make your way to a Starbucks and get a coffee to go. In Thailand, locals much prefer their kaffe-yen (iced coffee) from a coffee stand. One thing in common about this type of take-away coffee is that it’s always served in a plastic cup, topped with a plastic cap, garnished with a plastic straw and tucked into a plastic bag. It’s high time we break this Earth-killing combo and start saying no to all this avoidable plastic! It is best to bring your own reusable bottle always, but on occasions where you don’t, opt for no plastic caps and straw. Rather than carrying the cup in a plastic bag, hold it with some compostable tissues.

3. Reusable bags, containers and bottles

Everyone should own these top three necessities to live a sustainable life – reusable tote bags, durable containers, and reusable water bottles. Keep these items close to you at all times and you’ll be surprised by the amount of plastic you can refuse in a day. Do not let places with a “plastic bag culture” be an excuse for you to take it. Always choose to refuse a plastic bag even if it means you will have to awkwardly remove your items from the plastic bag it was given in.

4. The power is in your hands

Food is prepared by caterers, but the ultimate decision to leave food scraps behind are made by the consumers. It’s really a shame for someone to pay for their food only to have some of it wasted and tossed into the bin. If you are feeling kind of full at lunchtime, ask for half a portion of your meal instead of leaving it behind. Alternatively, you can always bring your own container and pack half of your lunch to eat later. We are ultimately saving the environment by making sure all the food we purchased, we finish. So, don’t get intimidated by the strange looks you might get as you pack your leftovers. Make it the norm!

5. Sustainability hero

When you have a sustainability hero or green team in the office, they play a big part in influencing other staff members to live a sustainable lifestyle too. You should never be ashamed of the sustainable choices you make in your daily life. Explain to your colleagues why you would rather drink your milk tea without a straw. Call them out if they could’ve avoided using any avoidable wastes. Once you are known as a sustainability hero in the office, you’ll start to see colleagues hiding their plastic bags from you and eventually, they’ll start refusing them the next time they purchase something.

Our challenge lasted for a week to ensure that staff members are consistently mindful of the decisions they make in their daily lives. During PATA’s Christmas dinner, staff members who successfully followed all the guidelines won gift vouchers – a way to commend their efforts and empower others to follow suit.

Did you know?

We only have 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe. Even half a degree increase in world temperature will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

If you would like to do the same in your workplace, feel free to drop us an email to SSR@pata.org for more information. We hope that you are able to incorporate these 5 tips into your daily lives and make sustainable living your new year resolution!

Extra reading:

Do your part to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn to regrow some of your kitchen scraps here.

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Credit: United Nations

You’ve heard the letters S, D, and G being used a lot lately, but what do they mean? In this week’s PATA Sustain’s green tips, we are passing along our top tips that can help you do your part to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

   1. Knowledge is power

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. The United Nations have set a supremely ambitious and transformational vision to realize the human rights of all and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. Therefore, the first step for us to be involved is to read and understand as much we as can. We understand that most people do not have the patience to read reports that are over 40 pages long. So here is an article by The Guardian on Sustainable development goals: all you need to know. If that is still too much for you, watch a short clip about the SDGs here.

Don’t stop there though, follow the UN Sustainable Development Goals platform on Facebook here. PATA also has a free publication available for download: The Olive Tree, which explores how the SDGs and travel and tourism are interlinked. Educate yourself on the problems that happen all over the world and learn from the best practices!

   2. Support your government and companies in your country

The UN provides substantive support and capacity building for the SDGs and their related thematic issues, including water, energy, climate, oceans, urbanization, transport, science and technology, and many more. It won’t take you long to realise that these issues may already be impacting your neighborhood. In order to make the 2030 agenda a reality, we need the commitment from all stakeholders, especially the ones that are closest to us.

This brings us back to tip #1: Knowledge. Start by finding out if your government has integrated the SDGs into the country development plan. See this full list of countries that are involved in the UN’s Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). TheVNRs aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences between nations, including success, challenges and lessons learned. If your country is listed, chances are your government or local organisations already have events planned in efforts to support the SDGs. For example, Green Fins Thailand, an initiative by United Nations and Reef-World Foundation, contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 14 (Life Below Water) and 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) by carrying out regular beach and coastal clean-ups. This is also a great opportunity for local communities to be involved.

 

3. The time is now

If you don’t already work for an organisation that fully supports the SDGs, you can still do your part by volunteering! Join the Scholars of Sustenance Foundation team to go on food runs to contribute to Goal 2 (Zero Hunger). If you simply cannot find the time to do, you may be surprised at just how easy it is for you to make a change. Contribute to Goal 13 (Climate Action) by reducing food waste to landfill.

If gender equality is of big importance to you, contribute to Goal 2 (Gender Equality) by supporting the rights of domestic workers in your home and community. Did you know that tens and millions of women and girls are employed in a private household? Despite their important roles, they are among the most exploited and abused workers in the world. Visit “My Fair Home” to take a pledge!

Did you know?

Every year, the UN SDG Action Award recognises individuals, civil society organizations, subnational governments, foundations, networks, private sector leaders who are advancing the global movement for the Sustainable Development Goals in the most transformative, impactful and innovative way. The winners will be announced at a special SDG Action Awards ceremony, at the Global Festival of Action on 2 May.

Keep a look out for award nominees by following their facebook page.

In a nutshell, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. We must continue to address the global challenges that the world is currently facing. We need to wake up and realise that human behaviour is the main reason for our increasingly volatile planet. Together, we can make a change.

Read more of #PATASustain green tips here.

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You don’t need green fingers to regrow these kitchen scraps – Some tips on how to save money on groceries in the long run

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Credit: Shutterstock

Whenever our fruits and vegetables start showing signs that they’re sprouting, we end up tossing them in the bin because it “looks” inedible. Is it because people just refuse to believe that this produce has a life of its own? A lot of hard work goes into growing a mere potato, and  all the other kitchen scraps that we throw into the bin without a second thought. We do this because its been ingrained in us that food that looks imperfect is inedible. We would not throw a houseplant out because it has one brown leaf, why should we throw out a garlic that has started to sprout?

Here are 7 types of kitchen scraps that we should start upcycling instead of tossing them in the bin – they are just far too valuable and wasteful to be thrown away.

1. Garlic

For those who love garlic enough to keep vampires away, you don’t have to spend time picking the best looking garlic bulb at the grocery store anymore because you can grow them with just a little soil and water at home! Click here to learn how you can do this.

2. Onions

Onions are like garlic’s cousin. They are both a kitchen staple and can be added to almost any main course to further elevate the taste. They are also one of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. First, cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a 1/2 inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny location and cover the top with soil. Make sure to keep the soil moist by watering when needed. Onions also have other uses besides adding flavor to food. They are rich in antibacterial and antifungal properties, and can be useful for promoting hair growth. Simply blend the onion and massage it onto your head at least twice a week..

3. Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce is the main ingredient for Caesar salad and can also be used for taco toppings, or lettuce wraps (a low-carb alternative to a burger bun, too!). Did you know that you do not need to put Romaine lettuce in soil for it to grow? Find directions here.

4. Pineapple

We are not going to lie that this will take a whole lot of patience. A pineapple can be regrown from its crown. It takes a full year to yield a sweet-tasting fruit but they are generally easy to care for as they do not need much water. You just need to understand what kind of conditions pineapple do and do not like. Research is probably the hardest part of the growing process but after that, you can sit back and relax while your pineapple grows. Read about it here.

5. Green onions, leeks and scallions

A staple in any Asian household, these vegetables grow quickly and will save you the most money in the long run.  All you have to do is place the roots of your green onions, leeks or scallions in a jar of water, and place the jar near the window, as they need a good amount of sunlight to grow. Remember to change the water every other day. You should have a new green onion, leek or scallion in just a week’s time.

6. Avocado

The world has become obsessed with this superfood. Avocados show up in salads, toast, smoothies, and even ice cream! There’s a good reason for this and that is because numerous studies had proven this fruit’s powerful health benefits. Learn how to grow your own so that you do not need to worry about your supply of avocados in the future.

7. Potato

Of course, we cannot leave out the beloved potato. Use small pieces of potatoes with 2-3 “eyes” and place in the sun for two to three days until you notice them sprouting. You can then plant it into a pot of soil and harvest continuously once the leaves turn yellow. Read the detailed steps to plant potatoes here.

Extra bites:

Watch this Buzzfeed video on how you can grow vegetables from scraps.

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Credit: Shutterstock

PATA prides ourselves on our role in developing future leaders of the tourism industry by empowering youth. We have our very own Young Tourism Professional (YTP) Ambassador, Ms. JC Wong who is responsible for the career development of youths comprising of students from PATA educational institution members. On November 22, Thursday, PATA collaborated with Mahidol University International College (MUIC) to address on the topic “Sustainable Hospitality Businesses.” Five guest speakers from Dusit Thani International, SO Sofitel Bangkok, YAANA Ventures Hospitality, Winnow Solutions and Scholars of Sustenance Foundation joined us to share their experience in the industry.

Credit: MUIC

There has been an evolution in “green thought” in the hospitality businesses but there it is often a challenge to execute due to budget, resources and manpower constraints. The objective of the workshop was therefore to get young tourism professionals (YTPs) exposed, connected and involved directly with industry professionals in the contexted of the massive environmental impact of daily hospitality operations. Through the workshop, we have compiled three key take-aways on how you can adapt the right attitude to drive change towards positive hospitality.

  1. Care with a “can-do” attitude.

Showing that you care in the hospitality industry is how you can exceed customers’ expectations. This simply means going out of your way to exceed expectations by anticipating your customers’ next need. For example, try to engage with customers on a deeper level by simply remembering their names and asking for their preferences. Two teaspoons of creamer with a hint of cocoa powder for their morning coffee? Serve them the same the next morning and you’ll see their face light up as bright as the morning sun. Look at this list of personalised services provided by SO Sofitel where design meets pleasure.

  1. Co-innovate with partners.

Students who had worked part-time or interned in an F&B outlet before may have encountered superiors that told them to throw excess food away at the end of the day. The reason why surplus food is generally not donated is probably because of the threat of liability for food-related illnesses. But did you know that there are laws that protect food donors? An example is the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act where the law provides a national standard of liability protection for both food donors and the nonprofits accepting these donations.

Despite such protections, businesses may still be hesitant to participate in food donation due to the extra cost incurred by providing the logistics to transport excess food. This is why it is important to co-innovate and collaborate with partners who can fill in the gap. Organisations can reach out to food banks or food angels such as Thai-SOS, which provide their services free of charge. Read case studies and learn how sustainability champions in the hospitality sector do it.

  1. Be present

We love listening to stories that have changed people’s lives, especially those of industry professionals. One of the guest speakers, Mr. Chris Regel is an expert in sustainability consultancy because, during his days working in the kitchen, he saw the massive amount of waste generated in the kitchen and buffets. 1/3 of food produced in the world is wasted! From this experience, he committed to ending food waste in the world and is now the Business Development Manager for Winnow Solutions.

The moral of the story is that, in whatever we do, it is important to be present and conscious of our actions and of our surroundings. Reevaluate our daily tasks. Is there a way to do it more efficiently? Are the products that you’re using energy efficient? Be curious at all times and one day, you will have an inspirational story to tell too.

               

Click here to see the full profiles of the guest speakers. While you are at it, follow PATA Youth on Facebook and get in touch with our YTP Ambassador at JCWong@pata.org. Your university may be next to benefit from an insightful workshop.

If you have any questions about our sustainability initiatives, please contact our Sustainability & Social Responsibility Specialist at  Chi@pata.org or send an e-mail to SSR@pata.org.

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Reduce food waste to landfills – It starts with you

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Credit: Shutterstock 

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that 1.3 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year. Yet, one in nine people on Earth do not have enough food. Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated at 303 billion tonnes of equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere. With increasing concern of the world for climate change, PATA, along with our project partner Scholars of Sustenance Thailand (Thai-SOS) and knowledge partner, Futoris are undertaking the BUFFET (Building an Understanding of Food Excess in Tourism) Initiative to target food waste in the hospitality industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Food waste reduction practices should not only be left to government or private sector to implement; we believe that food waste reduction should first start in your home. Here’s how you can start:

  1. Plan before you buy

    Having your meals planned before going to the grocery store saves you both money and time and most importantly, saves food from going to waste. It prevents you from buying unnecessary and impulse ingredients that will probably just end up sitting in the back of your refrigerator until it turns bad. When planning your meals, it is best to consume ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes. This way, you won’t waste any ingredients or be bored of the same food!

  2. Blend away

    It is hard to refrain yourself from buying packets of nutritious fruits and vegetables especially when they’re on sale. 2 packets of strawberries selling for the price of 1? Freeze them and blend it into a delicious smoothie that is perfect for anytime of the day. Best part is that a mix of any kinds of fruits and vegetables will be able to make a perfect blend. Here are 50 smoothies combinations you can try at home.

  3. Trust your senses

    How many times have you thrown away food that is perfectly packaged just because it has passed its expiry date? “Best-before” dates are indicators of when a product may begin to lose its flavor and texture, not when the product becomes dangerous to eat. Be sure to do a simple sniff test before tossing food into the bin.

  4. Compost

    Composting does not always need to be a pile of wastes that is dirty, which stinks or looks like it has a life on its own. You will be surprised by just how easy it to start an indoor or outdoor composting pile. Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of waste per household per year. Composting at home is one of the best ways you can practice sustainable living through connecting waste back to the resource.

Food for thought: How long do you think it takes for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill? 

  1. Grow your own

    Now that you have enriched soil in hand from composting, there is nothing more fulfilling than reaping what you sow. Growing your own food saves you a trip to the grocery store and give you the control on what kinds of fertilizer and pesticides come in contact with your food.

Answer: It takes 25 YEARS for a head of lettuce to decompose in a landfill. A little goes a long way. Start being an active citizen and be conscious of what you toss in the bin.

 

Further information on food waste:

Watch: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste (2017)

Volunteer: Check out Scholars of Sustenance (SOS)’s country projects. Your country may be next to benefit from SOS Food Rescue programs.

Cut food costs in your kitchen: See how Winnow Solutions can help.

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Learn how you can tackle the plastic pollution problem with the circular economy model

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When it comes to circular economy, our friends at WRAP explain it best: a circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

Credit: WRAP circular economy

The concept is simple as it brings you back to the 3Rs: reducing materials and waste, reusing products, and recycling materials. We have compiled 5 tips that can be used by any individual to start the conversation and start taking actions.

  1. Understanding the circular business model:

There are currently 5 circular business models that form the basis of a sustainable business: a business that focuses on closing loops so that there is no waste. By understanding how these business models work, we can identify companies that adopt these models, allowing us to be more conscious about who we choose to support and engage with.

  1. Refuse single-use items:

Single-use items simply do not work well in the circular economy model! The circular economy model aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible. The traditional approach of “take-make-dispose” should be a thing of the past. Do these 24 examples of ridiculous plastic packaging look familiar to you? Try to refuse them the next time you encounter them, or take photos of them and share on social media with the hashtag #BreakFreeFromPlastic.

  1. Get creative:

Ask yourself, “can I give this a second life?” before tossing anything into the bin. Turn waste into resources where all biodegradable material returns to nature and the non-biodegradable items are reused. If you have plastic bottles lying around your home, try any of these 20 creative ideas to breathe new life into these empty plastic bottles.

Credit: lynnpetersson.se

  1. Collaborate:

Teamwork and collaboration create wonderful things. If the waste industry had set many household waste collection systems for you to follow, chances are it is designed to maximize the quality of recycling. Effective waste segregation means that less waste goes to landfill which will make it cheaper and better for people and the environment. Here are 5 types of waste classification for you to understand what you can and cannot recycle.

Credit: Shutterstock

  1. Show your support. Take action:

For far too long, companies have been forcing plastic packaging into our lives and our planet and communities pay the real price. Massive floating islands of plastics three times the size of France are found floating in the Pacific Ocean. They threaten wildlife species, pollute the sea and can persist in the environment for centuries. You can make a difference by demanding corporations move away from single-use plastics altogether by adding your signature to support petitions.

There is a reason why more and more researchers are tapping into providing more evidence for the economic, environmental and societal benefits that a circular economy transition could deliver. The world is waking to the problem and this is a fight that we cannot afford to lose.

We at PATA are committed to be a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within Asia Pacific. Read more on our plastics brainstorming session that took place at the PATA HQ here.

To read more on circular economy, click here

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Chef sautèing vegetables in a commercial kitchen.

Buffets are highly appealing to guests, but they are also one of the top generators of food waste. Food waste is a costly and serious environmental issue. If food waste was a country it would be the third largest generator of greenhouse gases, just behind the U.S. and China.

But, food waste also provides great opportunities for the hotel sector. A research found that for every $1 hotel invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, on average they saved $7 in operating costs. With simple changes, hotels can minimize the problem, help the environment and contribute to their margin at the same time.

Winnow develops digital tools to help chefs run a more sustainable, profitable kitchen by cutting food waste in half. Together, chefs and teams using Winnow in 39 countries are saving over 18 million meals and $25,000 per year. From our experience we have learned simple tips to help hotel operators strike a balance between reducing waste and ensuring guest satisfaction:

Estimate the number of daily guests – By using this information, kitchens can forecast production volumes more realistically.

Find out who your guests are – Learn about your guest’s demographics to help you adjust your offering. When there are fewer Asian guests, for example, production of commonly-wasted foods such as rice and congee can be reduced.

Make your buffets look full – Consider reducing the size or depth of your serving dishes, and invest in table decorations rather than displaying more food.

Add live stations to your buffet – Cook dishes with more perishable ingredients, such as omelet and pasta, at live stations during the services.

Encourage guests to waste less – Giving your guests smaller plates sends a subtle message to take less food at one go and to return for seconds if desired.

Invest in technology – Digital tools, such as Winnow, inform where, when and why food waste occurs helping chefs manage their food waste more effectively.

The buffet is here to stay, but we would encourage every hotel operator to look for ways to reduce food waste. It helps the hotels` bottom line and reduces their environmental footprint at the same time. If you’d like to learn more tips to make your kitchen profitable and sustainable, download this free guide with 14 easy and essential steps.

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Being a sustainable traveller means also making a conscious decision about your fashion choices. Your sustainable fashion statement will surely leave a positive impact on the places you visit.

Studies have shown that people are willing to pay more in the name of sustainability and ethical fashion; therefore, it would be wise for companies to think in terms of the triple bottom line. Here are some tips on how you can make a difference by engaging in sustainable fashion.

  1. Get yourself an experience:

When visiting culturally rich countries with exquisite local crafts, why not go one step further and visit the artisans themselves. This way, you gain an authentic experience with the locals and some great memories too.

  1. Demand transparency:

Many big-name brands may claim to be sustainable, but it might be a facade to attract more customers. One of the ways you can check whether a company is serious about sustainability or not, is by visiting their website and having a look at their policies.

A transparent supply-chain is another good sign. If a company does not explicitly list its suppliers, you can send them an inquiry yourself. Getting a response is an indicator that, at the very least, they care about their customers. The complexity of supply-chains makes it difficult to assess companies and their ethical sourcing practices.

You can browse The Good Shopping Guide and Oxfam’s Naughty or Nice List to see where certain brands lie in terms of transparency and sustainability.

  1. Look for accreditation

Look for these certifications and labels to induce whether or not your item of clothing qualifies as ethical fashion.

  1. Don’t fall so fast:

Fast fashion is a phenomenon sweeping the globe. Many brands produce clothes that are meant to be discarded quickly. This is adding to the problem of pollution, not just due to clothing that ends up in landfill, but also because of the wasted resources used to make these clothes. In fact, the fashion industry is the second largest contributor to our planet’s pollution plight. Clothes should be a long-term investment. Support companies and brands that understand and address the issue of fast fashion.

So it all boils down to this: go the extra mile, do the research and make an effort to choose what’s right because your decisions have the power to instigate change.

Further reading:

Factory Girls, by Leslie T. Chang

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, by Elizabeth L. Cline

Read more on how you can be a sustainable traveller by packing eco-friendly travel essentials.

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Sustainable practices not only help the environment and the community, but also help to cut down on cost. A little bit of effort and small investments can give long term benefits. Here are some tips to help you transform your guesthouse into a sustainable haven.

Save Energy

  • Install LED lighting where possible. These are more energy efficient, safer, and last longer than regular bulbs.
  • Use an outdoor clothes line to naturally dry linens.
  • Use daylight to keep common areas well-lit for as long as possible.
  • Utilise energy efficient appliances.

Save Water

  • Install low-pressure shower heads and high efficiency toilets.
  • Plant flora that requires less water to flourish.
  • Encourage guests to reuse towels and linens.

Invest in Green Products

  • Utilise refillable shampoo, shower gel and lotion bottles.
  • Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products. They are less harmful for both humans and the environment.
  • Use reusable cups instead of plastic ones. Say no to single use plastic bottles and opt for ones made of glass or ceramics.
  • Use napkins instead of paper towels.
  • Ditch plastic kitchenware for dishes and metal cutlery.

Recycle

  • Separate waste into categories upstream so it is easier to divert waste from landfill.
  • Donate, compost, or reuse leftover food so that it does not go to waste.
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