A zero-waste Airbnb means that you make decisions based on the outcome that they will have on the environment. The way we choose to run our Airbnb’s can have a huge impact on the environment. There are a variety of eco-conscious ideas in this article that you can adopt, either completely or implement parts to your day-to-day Airbnb business. These small changes will not break the bank, in fact, they will save you money over time.
Airbnb travelers tend to be on board with sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. In fact, becoming ‘zero -waste’ is going to make your Airbnb stand out more. More and more guests are selecting accommodation that will help them care for the planet and reduce their carbon footprint. You can mention in your listing, ‘We strive to be eco-friendly and provide many zero-waste options as we can to help care for the environment’. Cue the increased bookings!
What’s A Zero-Waste Airbnb?
Zero waste is about lessening our impact through being mindful of our consumption and the waste it causes. Of course, any home or Airbnb reaching absolute zero-waste and generating no waste at all simply isn’t possible, but the goal is to reduce and eliminate waste, as much and far as possible.
From the decisions you choose to make, you can prevent your Airbnb from creating excess pollution, toxicity, and waste.
If you want to make a change to all the waste being produced by your Airbnb think about going plastic-free. Plastic just doesn’t biodegrade, it just breaks down into micro-plastics which causes so much environmental harm. In just 10 years, the amount of plastic in the ocean will triple unless we all make drastic changes.
Plastic water bottles, garbage bags, straws, shower caps and single-use toiletries…I provided these amenities to guests for years. It’s what I thought guests expected. However, more and more hotels are now adopting eco-friendly practices, like eliminating single-use toiletries and providing in-shower dispensers. This major move follows the movement of eliminating or reducing single-use plastics, like straws, across major hotel brands around the world.
With so many guests, coming and going, switching to a zero-waste Airbnb in 2020 just makes sense.
How to Get Started
The best place to get started is to look at your average Airbnb turnover and try to change the aspects that generate the most waste. Reducing the use of plastic in our Airbnb is the easiest, and makes a positive impact. Here are my favorite zero-waste products that I use in my Airbnb and guests love them! In fact, our guests’ message often asking where to find these products. I’ve provided affiliate links for ease, if you choose to buy from them, thank you, i’ll recive a small commission to keep this blog going!
1. Filtered Water Dispenser
One of the most important things you can do to shift your Airbnb to zero-waste is to stop buying plastic disposable water bottles. There are several money-saving options: a filtered water dispenser, an on-tap filter or a water stand that you refill with 3-5 gallon jugs of water at your local grocery store. These options are all better than the 1000’s of single-use bottles that the average Airbnb produces per year.
2. No Single-Use Toiletries
As much as I love the look and ease of single-use plastic toiletries, they are terrible for the environment. Provide a sturdy, long-lasting In-Shower Dispenser for Shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Simply refill when needed. You can also supply an all in one bulk bottle of Everyone Soap that guests can use and re-fill when necessary.
3. Biodegradable Garbage Bags
These 100% plant-based, biodegradable garbage bags look exactly like regular plastic bags. But, they are stronger than regular garbage bags, tear-resistant and leak-proof. It takes about 360 days for this biodegradable garbage bag to be degraded into the soil, rather than 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag. These are the best choice for your zero-waste Airbnb and they come in all sizes! You can also find recycled garbage bags made from ocean plastic collected on the beach (yes, really) from Hippo Sak.
4. Natural Products
There are so many chemicals in regular dish soap. For the same price, you can buy an all-natural alternative, like Puracy Lime & Green Tea, that cuts grease and softens your guests’ hands at the same time. This dish soap is 100% vegan and plant-based, using coconut oils and natural scents. This company also has a wonderful lavender + vanilla hand soap, a citrus & sea salt body wash, and a multi-surface cleaner. Bulk-refills are available to cut down on 90% of the waste.
5. Silicone Food Bags
Instead of providing plastic wrap, plastic containers and plastic ziplock bags, these silicone food bags are plastic-free and non- toxic. Guests can even use these silicone bags in the freezer, dishwasher, and microwave. They are called Stasher are a #1 bestseller on Amazon and for good reason. You can choose from snack bags, sandwich and storage bags. There’s also a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from!
6. Reusable Food Wraps
Bee’s Wrap is a natural and reusable alternative to plastic wrap. The way it works is that the warmth of your hands softens the wrap, and when it cools, it hardens and creates a natural seal. You can wrap any type of food with it or use it to place over bowls and dishes. Guests can use it the same as they would with regular plastic wrap or tin foil, minus the waste. The company states that it is reusable for up to a year if used multiple times a week. Check them out on Amazon and choose from many different Bee’s Wrap designs. The designs are adorable!
7. Cotton Shopping Bags
Provide your guests with reusable shopping bags to reduce plastic waste. Most guests don’t pack canvas shopping bags, so these will be appreciated as a ‘thoughtful touch’ from their host. A zero-waste Airbnb can help to eliminate guests’ plastic collection too!
8. Stainless Steel Straws
Plastic straws make up a lot of the waste in the ocean so consider providing guests stainless steel straws. These stainless steel straws come with a cleaning brush, and they come in packs of 8. There are also biodegradable plant-based straws available for your zero-waste Airbnb.
9. Glass Spray Bottles
These amber glass spray bottles are perfect for any host who makes their own cleaning products. It’s a great plastic spray bottle alternative that’s more durable and long-lasting, and you don’t have to worry about BPA in the plastic.
Natural Spray Cleaner Recipe
To make your own awesome multi-surface cleaner with just 3 ingredients, this DIY natural all-purpose cleaner comes together in under a minute + it’s safe, effective and smells WONDERFUL!
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups of water
- 20 drops essential oils
9. Bulk Pantry Items
If you provide a few amenities in the pantry, check for local bulk food stores nearby. Save your glass jars and provide your guests with pantry essentials: Flour, coffee, sugar, Muesli, pasta, etc. This way you avoid all the plastic and cardboard in food packaging. You can also use on the counter a set of glass jars + bamboo lids. Provide bamboo or wooden chopping boards over plastic ones.
10. Treeless Toilet Paper
Who Gives A Crap is filling a gap in the market by providing plastic-free, recycled toilet paper using low-waste packaging that is every bit as good as the standard options you’d find in your local supermarket. All of their products are made using environmentally-friendly materials and they donate 50% of their profits to charity to build toilets in impoverished areas.
Final Thoughts on Zero-Waste Airbnb Products
When purchasing from stores on Amazon, buy your items in bulk in order to reduce carbon emissions as well as reduce packaging waste. By combining your purchases into one check out, that’s fewer cars and trucks on the road delivering your package, therefore, fewer pollutants in the air. Buying in bulk also reducing the amount of packing and cardboard needed to ship your products which means less cardboard in our landfills.