We serve millions of guests every month all over the country. With so many interactions and services offered, we are thankful for the opportunity to do our part in reducing our country’s footprint.
Recommending sustainability policies and procedures is an essential aspect of our business strategy. It is a concept that we integrate into all of our management practices and a key part of our process from day one of contracts.
At the corporate level, a broader strategic plan for driving sustainability initiatives not only spurs efficiency and innovation across entire businesses but also satisfies guest needs and influences how suppliers operate. Through collaboration with our clients, employees, suppliers, business partners, and other third parties, we continuously evaluate the environmental policy component of our business model to ensure we deliver on the expectations of those we collaborate with as well as our own rigorous standards.
We enhanced our sustainability program by rolling out a program to replace single-use lodging amenities with bulk amenities. We have continued to add properties and by the end of 2022 all lodging properties were participating in this program.
We are currently utilizing a new system for cleaning using ionized water. This system cuts cleaning chemical use by over 25% in the average lodging facility. It is non-toxic and only uses a small amount of electricity, while releasing no chemicals into the environment. This system is currently used at four Guest Services hotels and lodges, and by the end of 2022 should be installed at all Guest Services managed lodging facilities.
Guest Services committed to ending the use of single-use plastic at all properties. The initiative stopped distribution of single-use plastic bags and drink stirrers at 100% of the units in which Guest Services operates. In addition, we continued our “Skip the Straw” initiative to reduce the use of single-use straws across the portfolio.
We have invested in charging stations at many of our managed properties including Bear Mountain Inn, The Marbella Pelican Bay and DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Naples, Florida.
In addition, there are plans to add charging stations at headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia along with many other of our condo properties in Naples, Florida.
Compressed Gas Vehicles
Since 2015, Guest Services’ operations at Mount Rainier National Park have operated five propane-gas powered vehicles. These are used to shuttle employees and supplies from the Company’s warehouse outside the Park to Paradise Lodge, the National Park Inn, and Sunrise Lodge, all of which are operated by Guest Services inside the Park.
Propane-powered vehicles cut carbon monoxide emissions by more than 90 percent compared with conventionally-powered trucks. Nitrogen oxide emissions and hydrocarbon emissions are reduced by more than 50 percent; these vehicles produce fewer carcinogenic pollutants, and almost no particulate matter.
Guest Services has been replacing conventional bulbs with LED bulbs, wherever possible, saving 70% of electricity compared to conventional bulbs.
Non-Carbon Dioxide Electricity Sources
Guest Services seeks to purchase electricity for its heavy electricity-consuming units from non-carbon dioxide buying sources. Guest Services buys over 40 percent of its electricity from non-carbon energy sources, substantially reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere compared with conventional electricity-generating sources.
At Guest Services, we have instituted various opportunities at our units for use of alternative electricity sources. For example, at Everglades National Park we currently use solar power for hot water and have installed solar lights in our eco-tents that are on property.
Electronic Records – Paper Saving Systems
Guest Services’ initiatives have lowered paper consumption by more than 910,000 sheets a year. We continue to commit to eliminating paper waste whenever possible.
Our Human Resources Department has migrated to 100% electronic job applications and hiring paperwork saving more than 256,000 sheets a year.
Our lodging facilities continue to utilize a paperless check-out system. This saved an additional 18,200 sheets a year.
Corporate and regional accounting have committed to migrating more vendors to ACH and P-Card payments to decrease the amount of paper checks being cut.
Use of Recycled Paper
Guest Services uses 30 percent recycled content paper whenever possible. In 2022, more than 47 million sheets of this recycled paper were used, reducing the demand for the resources used in producing virgin paper. Thirty percent recycled paper saves 7 trees per ton of paper compared to virgin paper; recycled paper also consumes 10 percent less energy and 10 percent less water to produce than virgin paper.
Guest Services continues to increase its use of 100 percent recycled disposable napkins and bathroom paper towels. These purchases save more than 50 percent of the energy used in producing virgin paper products. Packaging is also reduced, saving the equivalent of 543 trees, and 4.8 tons of plastic in a year.
Sustainability Progress Report
The DoubleTree Suites hotel tracks energy and water consumption to test the efficiency of its sustainability programs. This program at the DoubleTree has reduced water consumption by almost 64 percent over the past five years.
Purchasing environmentally friendly products reduces demands on the environment. For each category of purchasing (for example: uniforms, cleaning supplies, equipment or food products), Guest Services has a Managed Order Guide (MOG), which functions as a catalog for the operating units.
By company policy, units are encouraged to purchase those items that are identified in the MOGs as environmentally friendly. The MOGs are continually updated to maximize the number of environmentally friendly items available, and those items are highlighted for easy reference. Eighty percent of Guest Services’ units currently participate in this environmentally friendly purchasing program.
Among the MOG enhancing sustainable practices is the EcoSmart™ program. The EcoSmart™ program has reduced total waste, carbon dioxide production, and fossil fuel emissions by 54 percent below the amounts generated by using conventional paper and disposable products. Another example is the MOG for cleaning supplies, which promotes the use of Ecolab’s “Apex” cleaning system and products in all units. The Apex products use non-caustic chemicals, and 90 percent less packaging material than conventional dishwashing products. Guest Services’ use of the Apex system and products produced the following reductions in 2022 (versus use of conventional cleaning products):
This is in addition to the reduction of chemical products from the use of ionized water, as noted previously.
Culinary Development Department
Under the direction of our Purchasing Department, Guest Services is reducing the environmental impact of the company’s food service operations. In 2022, we:
As part of its commitment to reducing waste, Guest Services began installing hydration stations at various properties in 2019. Our corporate office has multiple stations throughout the building that employees can utilize.
In addition, there are currently three hydration stations at Mount Rainier National Park for staff and visitors alike. These stations promote the use of personal water bottles and in turn discourage the use and discard of plastic bottles and cups. In 2022, guests filled 300,170 bottles using the station at Paradise Inn.
The same year, the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Naples, Florida, which is owned and operated by Guest Services, began a program of using refillable glass bottles for both still and sparkling water for meetings held at the hotel, instead of providing disposable plastic bottles.
Lodging – the “Clean the World” Program
Much of the illness in poorer areas of the world results from lack of basic sanitation articles, like soap for hand-washing. Clean the World is a national organization that accepts donations of used guestroom amenities (primarily soap and shampoo), and after sanitizing the products, sends them to people around the world who are unable to afford these basic personal hygiene items.
Guest Services’ lodging facilities joined this program in June 2010.
Linens and Blankets
In the past, Guest Services’ lodging operations have donated over 5,000 gently used linens to local homeless shelters, including Tacoma Rescue Mission in Washington State. When sanitation guidelines allow our properties to do so again, we fully anticipate the re-instatement of this program.
Guest Services’ food service operations at Mount Rainier began separating food waste for composting in 2010. The food waste is taken off-site and turned into soil-enhancing material that is sold to area farms.
Other Guest Services units have begun their own composting efforts, both on- and off-site.
Many of Guest Services’ operations have long-standing programs of recycling paper, glass, cardboard, plastic and aluminum. In 2022, total conventional recycling companywide equaled over 95.5 tons.
Guest Services recycled over 15.2 tons of cooking oil in 2022. The recycled cooking oil is processed and converted to either biodiesel or animal feed, depending on market demand at the time of processing.
Guest Services operating units contain various types of electronic equipment, all of which is gradually replaced. Our Environmental Policy #302 requires that all such waste be recycled at the end of its useful life. We utilize an organization called WiseTek for this effort. In previous years we have recycled over 3,700 pounds of electronic equipment through this program.
Hazardous Waste Recycling
In late 2011, Guest Services began utilizing Waste Management’s Lamptracker system for tracking the recycling of fluorescent lights, batteries, and disposable items containing potentially hazardous waste.
In 2022, Guest Services’ recycled 3,703 pounds of batteries, light bulbs, and fluorescent light ballasts.
Ink Cartridge Recycling
Guest Services has also developed a companywide program to recycle printer ink cartridges. Guest Services recycled 200 pounds of printer cartridges in 2022.