Action 290: Reuse your hotel towels

towelsDate: 17 October
Action: 290
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

 

On your holiday, this is a way to reduce your impact

If you are on holiday and using a hotel for a few days, or in an apartment with a laundry service, this small action will really help.

You can probably expect or call on a set of freshly laundered towels every day, but you can also indicate, or tell the hotel staff, that you don’t need them every time. Many hotels have a system that says if you place your towels on the towel rails they won’t be changed, but if you place them in the bath or on the bathroom floor, they will be.

Most of us don’t need a whole set of clean towels every single day, so please reuse a few times before getting them laundered.

What to do

It’s easy, just follow the instructions from the hotel, or call the reception and let them know that you don’t want clean towels each day – perhaps every second or third day instead.

Job done!

How does this help?

This helps mainly because hotel laundry is hugely energy intensive. This is because:

  • the sheer volume of bedding, tablecloths and towels laundered is massive
  • toweling holds a lot of water and thus takes lots of energy to dry
  • hotel towels tend to be large
  • laundry has to be turned around quickly, and is usually white, so everything is done at high temperatures
  • hotels use powered dryers, not line drying

The result is that towels being laundered in the hotel uses much more energy than when you launder towels at home. This energy comes from the consumption of gas in most cases – a fossil fuel. If electricity is used, of course that is often generated using fossil fuels too. Therefore, carbon emissions are much higher.

Some hotels will also have to transport their whites from hotel to laundry and back, adding the carbon emissions from trucks and vans to the equation.

There are other considerations too:

  • hotel laundering uses a lot of water
  • hotel laundering uses bleaches
  • hotel laundering uses vast amounts of laundry powder or other soaps

Take action

Next time you are on holiday, please try and reuse you towels and not have them laundered every day. If all holidaymakers were to do this the impact on carbon emissions from the hotel industry would be very significant.

You know it makes sense!