Elevate Your Rental Property

How to Maintain an Eco-friendly Airbnb

Ready to go green? Follow these five easy steps to start incorporating sustainable practices in your vacation rental.

By Lei Kimura

Last updated: December 07, 2021
Eco-friendly products in Airbnb
Photo by Svitlana on Unsplash

Environmentally-friendly options are becoming more and more accessible for homeowners and property managers alike. Even the largest vacation rental platforms are encouraging hosts to incorporate sustainability into their properties. According to Airbnb, 88% of Airbnb hosts incorporate green practices into hosting. Are you wondering what you can do to get started? Read on for everything you need to know about preparing for an eco-friendly Airbnb.

Sustainability is a major goal for Airbnb. So much in fact that they launched the Office of Healthy Tourism in 2018. This was just the beginning of their push towards “local, authentic, and sustainable tourism” for places around the world.

As a host, sustainability should be one of the top priorities while setting up the property. Here are some tips to keep in mind while preparing for an environmentally friendly Airbnb.

Offer Recycling

When many people think of sustainability, they think of recycling. Providing a place for recycling is an important (and easy) way to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle for the guests staying at your Airbnb.

Provide Labeled Bins
A great first step is to provide a proper place to throw away recyclables. If guests see it, it will be easier to motivate them to recycle. Furthermore, it is important to do research to see which types of plastic are recyclable in your area.

If there are different types of recycling such as glass or paper, make sure to include different labeled bins (and/or different colored bins) for each one.

Include Clear Instructions
Including recycling instructions in your welcome packet will clear up any questions by guests.

While writing these instructions, make sure to include where the recyclable bins are located, as well as what types of items are allowed. Include pictures and labels in the welcome packet, or clearly labeled directly on the recycling bins to avoid any confusion.

Provide Compost Bins

In addition to the recycling bins, it is beneficial to include an extra bin for composting. This is an additional push for going green, as composting food waste is great for the earth.

If you decide to add a compost bin to your Airbnb, make sure to communicate with your guest to empty out the compost regularly to avoid any bugs. It should be the guest’s responsibility to take out the compost bins if they are staying for a longer period of time.

In addition, make sure to include composting instructions in the house manual and explain the process at check-in if necessary to avoid any confusion.

For the shorter turnovers, communicate to your cleaners to empty anything left inside of the compost bins and to coordinate any recycling needs – especially if it may need to be hauled off-site.

Opt for Eco-friendly Products

Next on the list is swapping those single-use plastics and other harmful products for a more “green” alternative. Using products that are plant-based/chemical-free helps to reduce the guests’ carbon footprint. Here are some tips for sustainable alternatives:

Switching to Eco-friendly
In this day and age, there are many healthy alternatives for soap, detergents, and basically any cleaning product out there. Buying cleaning products that are non-toxic is not only good for the environment but also good for the guests’ health!

Thankfully, there are many healthy alternatives for products that are easily accessible in many grocery stores/supermarkets. Learn more about which products are “green” and how to choose here.

Say No to Single-use
Humans produce TONS of plastic waste every day. Help reduce plastic consumption by opting for products that are washable and reusable. For example, instead of plastic forks/spoons providing silverware provides a big change. Another example can be switching from single-use paper towels to microfiber cloths.

Try to avoid coffee makers that use plastic coffee pods (such as Keurig coffee pods) since those also contribute to single-use plastics. If you already have a coffee maker that uses these pods, it would be beneficial to purchase a reusable coffee pod, that guests can fill up with their own coffee.

Offering reusable tote bags, food storage containers, and refillable containers is also a great way to cut out single-use plastics and encourage guests to reduce their carbon footprint.

Install a Water Filter
By offering filtered water through the faucet or a pitcher can be a game-changer. By having a water filter and reusable cups, guests will be less likely to purchase bottled water, therefore reducing plastic consumption.

Focus on Energy Efficiency

Finally, conserving energy is part of the larger ways that an Airbnb property can help reduce guests’ carbon footprint. Making your Airbnb more energy-efficient will not only reduce your overall costs but also help reduce the amount of resources guests use.

Switch Out Lightbulbs
Check what type of lightbulbs your property is using. Are the lightbulbs LED or CFL?

LED and CFL lightbulbs are energy-efficient lightbulbs, so they last longer and use less energy than a standard incandescent lightbulb. Using a lower wattage from these LED lightbulbs will help produce less heat and save that energy.

These energy-saving lightbulbs are easy to find in any supermarket and even online. So if your property isn’t using these lightbulbs, it’s best to switch!

Unplug Unused Devices
Remind your guests to unplug any unused phone/battery chargers, as they constantly consume energy, even if the charger is only plugged into the outlet with no phone attached.

Choose the Right Settings
Remind your guests of which setting is the most efficient on dishwashers, washers, dryers, etc. Since many appliances come with an “eco” mode, try to encourage guests to use those settings, as a way to save energy and water.

Investing in an energy-efficient machine when it is time to replace the machine is a great way of being eco-friendly in the long term. Determine the best-rated energy-efficient appliances here.

Invest in Solar Panels
Although installing solar panels can be more on the pricey side, it is good to plan ahead and think about installing solar panels for the long term.

Solar panels help promote less fossil fuel usage and cut electricity costs in the long run. This option is not an easy decision to make but ultimately will help cut costs and make the earth a greener place.

Encourage Your Guests

Last but not least, it is important to encourage and motivate the guests staying at your Airbnb property to be more sustainable.

Promoting sustainable tourism such as encouraging public transit, ride-share, or bike rental options will help motivate guests to be environmentally friendly. Educating guests in your house rules on how to be a responsible tourist and how to be sustainable is a big step for the overall goal of having an eco-friendly Airbnb!

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