Environmental hotel


Posted: 29 April 2003

The Royal York Hotel, in downtown Toronto, Canada, has launched and expanded its programme for making the hotel one of the most environmentally-friendly in North America.

According to Melanie Coates, Director of Communications at the Royal York, the staff successfully diverted 73 per cent of its total waste from landfill sites in 2002. The programme is being conducted under the Environmental Management System.

The Royal York is one of 41 hotels owned by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. In the early 1990s, Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts, now known as Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, began developing green programmes at its hotels throughout Canada.

The company began by forming environmental committees at each hotel and then conducting nationwide environmental audits. Company officials sought advice from professional environmental consultants and the co-operation of employees to begin the process of greening hotel operations.

Less packaging

Today, energy and resource reduction at the Royal York is achieved through the use of lower wattage and fluorescent light bulbs, low flush toilets, and low flow showerheads. Waste reduction is achieved through many innovations, including buying practices that seek to limit excessive packaging.

Purchasing policies emphasize the elimination of hazardous chemicals and synthetic perfumes, a conversion to unbleached and recycled paper, and the replacement of aerosol products with alternatives that do not deplete the ozone layer. For the hotel's seven restaurants, local farmers supply some organically grown foods, and the kitchen staff works to minimize water use and eliminate waste. Guests are asked to help the Royal York with energy and waste reduction. Each guest room has a recycling box and instructions on the box informing guests what to place inside. Every bathroom bears a card that asks guests to consider reusing towels in order to lessen the amount of laundry detergent being washed down the drain and into the environment. A card is placed on each bed that advises guests that bed linens will be changed on a daily basis by request only.

More recycling

Every day, the contents of hundreds of rubbish bins and recycling boxes is sent down to the basement of the Royal York. Here a small staff of dedicated employees sorts through the garbage, separating the recyclable items from the non-recyclables. From its rooftop herb garden to its basement recycling programme, the Royal York employs an environmental management system that could be the standard in environmental management for hotels.

To inspire environmental action within the industry, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has created "The Green Partnership Guide" as a handbook for employees and all those who wish to make an environmental difference.

Source: Green Practices Second Nature at Royal York Hotel by Valerie Sheppard, Environmental News Service (ENS) and Gallon Newsletter, April 23, 2003. Visit the Royal York website at Fairmont .