How sustainable travel can contribute to a healthier You?
By eco-health travel specialists
There are many ways in which sustainable tourism can create a beneficial impact on natural environments, wildlife, natural resources and human health. For instance, when hotels implement measures that can safeguard the integrity of ecosystems, they do less damage to the environment and promote balance and health. As a guest, you can also contribute to a better world by choosing to travel sustainably and join the responsible travel movement.
To better understand how your health can benefit to such approach, here is a list of the most relevant eco-friendly gestures implemented by eco-friendly hotels that have a positive impact on the environment and customer experience:
1. Eco-hotels minimise energy consumption
By installing energy-saving technologies, hotels can become more eco-friendly and reduce their impact on the environment. Switching to energy-saving light bulbs, installing motion sensor lights in communal areas and ensuring all appliances are energy class A are just some minor changes that can be made.
Some of our hotels have taken a step further by generating electricity from a clean energy source like solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy and other developed technologies.
Hotels can now compost tons of food waste each month into a high-quality composted organic fertiliser onsite. Unfortunately, many hotels are still storing waste food in specialised rooms with refrigerated storage equipment waiting to be collected and disposed in the landfill. To avoid massive energy consumption, composter machines come in handy. Compost machines work by digesting food waste into liquid organic fertilisers which is then ready to use as organic fertiliser replacing artificial ones.
Hotels use a vast amount of water every day, not just for human consumption but also to maintain the grounds.
Rather than using a sprinkler system or hose that runs from the main water supply, recycling rainwater to a storage tank allows hotels to collect enough supply to maintain good soil moisture levels in the grounds. This is a much more eco-friendly and sustainable way for a hotel to run!
Enjoying food is an integral part of any travel experience. As appealing as they look, a hotel breakfast and dinner buffet generates a massive amount of waste every single day. If the food is not eaten and instead disposed of in landfills and rots, it produces methane — a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. Other landfill gases released in the environment are carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide.
When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it was used to grow, harvest, transport and package it. By implementing ‘à la carte’ menus, dishes are ordered individually, which means less food waste will be produced.
5. Eco-hotels purchase local, seasonal and organic food
Purchasing seasonal and local produce food not only cuts delivery costs but also supplies food far richer in nutrient-dense ingredients than food purchased from a chain supermarket. Fruit and vegetables that have had to travel long distances to reach their destiny tend to be irradiated and harvested at the early stages of maturity. This means they have a longer shelf life but provide less flavour and are of less nutritional value.
Hotels that use permaculture farming practices or purchase organic food are also very much helping in keeping our water supply clean of synthetic pesticides and reducing soil erosion, hence increasing soil fertility. Since farming with pesticides have been linked in many studies to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, infertility and even birth defects, here is another ethical reason to choose a destination that’s working towards your health and that of the planet!
6. Eco-hotels promote green practices among guests
Hotels that are eco-friendly and designed with sustainability in mind usually offer a number of activities that supports the planet. These activities vary from local culinary classes, DIY natural cosmetic workshops to planting trees and encouraging guests to use refillable water bottles as an example to others on how to live sustainably.
Tours of an eco-friendly gesture that allow guests to explore their surroundings while minimising impact are also offer at some eco-friendly hotels. Providing free bicycle rental and electric charging stations for vehicles will certainly help guests integrate into an eco-sustainable journey.
Plastic water bottles and food plastic containers have been around for years despite being bad for the environment and potentially harmful in the long term to humans. If they leach any synthetic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, they can cause cancer over time when exposed to UV, heat and when breaking down naturally. According to leading international health scientists, these chemicals have the ability to mimic oestrogen hormones in the body producing male reproductive malfunctions and disturbing the homeostatic mechanisms of the body.
Since much of the plastic waste around the world ends up in the oceans, eco-friendly hotels can very much help when they replace all plastic containers in the rooms with refillable dispensers for soaps, shampoos and conditioners.
At Longevity Escapes, we ensure our guests are offered water in glass bottles or a refillable glass bottle that they can refill in water filtered stations in the hotel.
8. Eco-hotels don’t use pesticides in their grounds to save the bees
Honeybees are responsible for an astonishing €30 billion a year in crops, making them an essential beneficiary insect. Every year around 30% – 40% of bees are killed due to herbicides and pesticides. These chemicals are highly toxic and work by damaging the insect’s nervous system. Coincidently, more and more farmers and individuals living in rural areas, where pesticides and herbicides are used, are developing Parkinson’s disease – a progressive nervous system disorder. One study found that the number of Parkinson’s sufferers in these areas has doubled since 1990s. If the use of these toxins continues, we may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, resulting in a mass loss of animals that feed off the plants continuing further and further up the food chain.
It comes as no surprise that sustainable destinations can highly benefit local communities and their surroundings. Eco-friendly hotels not only generate more local jobs thanks to the purchase of handcrafted or up-cycled furniture, but also keep old traditions alive while minimising waste from its production.
Hotels opting for local building materials promote care for the environment beyond hotel grounds.
10. Eco-hotels preserve or restore native plant habitat
Trees are not only attractive aesthetically, but they also provide a significant number of benefits to a landscape. Trees and plants remove carbon from the atmosphere by using the energy of sunlight and through the process of photosynthesis. When carbon dioxide is absorbed through the roots from both the air and the ground’s water, it is released as oxygen into the air. Trees and plants also help slow heavy rain, reducing the risk of flooding and providing shade from the sunlight on warmer days.
Hotels that restore native plant habitat in their grounds with natural flora can help preserve biodiversity in the local surrounding. Planting trees and plants is a simple sustainable way to combat deforestation and climate change.
11. Eco-hotels use less paper or buy from certified brands
Alongside food waste and plastic waste, one of the largest waste products generated by hotels is paper. By identifying paper waste reduction opportunities, hotels can significantly reduce the need to cut down forests for paper making.
One simple strategy is to purchase toilet paper from brands that do not use virgin wood pulp or chlorine to bleach the pulp – a common practice that produces toxic waste by-products.
By using paperless technology for receipts and leaflets, hotels can also minimise their environmental impact. Taking advantage of a digital system to communicate with guests, for example, having tablets available for guests to use in their rooms, are all achievable gestures that bring any hotel into the 21st century.
12. Eco-hotels use biodegradable cleaning products
It might not seem obvious for most of us, but when we use cleaners or household products with dangerous ingredients, a large part of those chemicals ends up in the oceans, rivers and lakes causing great harm to the habitat of marine life and wildlife. This is because most pollutants cannot be removed in the sewer system or wastewater treatment facilities. On top of causing water pollution, some toxic chemicals such as VOCs (phosphorus, nitrogen and ammonia) can easily be released in the air when cleaning products are used due to their volatile nature. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases therefore contaminating the air we breathe which may cause short or long term adverse health effects on humans.
Endocrine disruptors are also hazardous chemicals present in most cleaning products. These harmful chemicals have been known to affect, mimic and even interfere with an individual’s hormone system. Cleaning products that are not eco-friendly can implement some health risks, including; reproductive and developmental toxicity, infertility, cancer, as well as allergies and skin irritations in both humans and animals.
Unlike conventional hotels, eco-friendly hotels who purchase eco-labeled green cleaning products created using safe, non-toxic and biodegradable ingredients, can greatly reduce the health risks and environmental concerns that come along with cleaning.
Another good reason to carefully choose your destination wisely!
A clean environment is not only about cutting down pollution in the air and Co2 emissions. It is also about minimising the use of human-made chemicals in every product we use that present concerns related to the multiple pathways of human exposure and their long-term effect on human health and ecosystems.
Our sustainable hotels work very hard to meet the expectations of eco-conscious travellers. Each of our hotels are on a personal journey to achieve as many eco-friendly benefits as possible for our guests to enjoy and utilise during their sustainable travel experience.
Regardless of where your sustainable commitment is, we are here to enhance your knowledge and provide you with a nutritional sustainable holiday that we trust will not disappoint you during your stay.