Mini Series: Hotels' environmental efforts

Episode N°1: Towels

#advice #hotel #comfort #ecology #files


SEPTEMBER 06, 2022

The first part is dedicated to a simple, effective action that has become widespread in recent years: the reuse of bath towels.

For the past twenty years, most hotels around the world have been encouraging their guests not to change their used towels every day, thanks to small signs in the bathrooms. This small and simple gesture has a significant impact: the consumption of water and electricity necessary to clean the towels is reduced. Knowing that to clean 10 kg of towels, it is necessary to consume about 50L of water and 1.2 kWh of electricity, the TUI group estimated in a study conducted in 2017 that the generalization of this practice to all its hotels would save 17 million liters of water and 423,900 kWh of electricity per year1all with a reduced carbon footprint of 228 tons of CO2 and a saving of 18 million euros. 18 million. If all hotels in the world were to adopt this system, it would save the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of a French city of 5,000 inhabitants! In addition, the reduction in the number of detergents used reduces the consumption of environmentally harmful detergents.

In order to improve the impact of the device on the client, several studies have even been conducted on the speech to be used on the small signs. These studies showed an increase of about 10% in reuse when the speech was more prescriptive ("75% of customers participate in the program. Join them" or "Use these towels like you do at home") rather than incentive-based ("Help us save the planet" or "Every day, tons of towels are washed and the washing powder used contaminates the water"). Depending on the source, the rate of reuse of towels would increase from 35 to 45%.

The environmental management of linen is mandatory for obtaining labels such as the Ecolabelwhich also gives other recommendations to reduce the environmental impact of linen: the reduction of the weight of towels or the use of organic cotton.

The reuse of towels is an interesting way to save money that has become widespread over the last ten years. It's a win/win situation, allowing savings without loss of comfort for customers. 


1 Hotel towel usage survey, TUI, 2017.

2 Noah J. Goldstein, Robert B Cialdini, Vladas Griskevicius, A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in HotelsJournal of Consumer Research, October 2008.

3 Reducing the environmental impact of laundry management, Ecolabel Toolbox