COP28: How to create an environmentally responsible Airbnb experience

COP28: How to create an environmentally responsible Airbnb experience

In recent years, the pressing concern of climate change has caused us to adopt sustainable practices in almost every facet of our lives.

As the world grapples with the need for fast and wide-reaching environmental action, attention is being directed towards large-scale events such as the Conference of Parties (COP) 28, which this year will be hosted by the UAE. In November 2023, leaders, activists, and climate experts from around the world will come together at Expo City Dubai for two weeks of intense discussions to boost efforts in tackling the climate crisis.

As COP28 draws ever closer, the hospitality sector is under growing pressure to meet the 19 goals established by Dubai Sustainable Tourism. These include a range of criteria, all aimed at fostering sustainable living: from enhancing energy and water efficiency to implementing effective waste management programs.

While Airbnbs might manage to evade certain levels of scrutiny as private properties, it’s just as vital to shine a light on smaller, localized spheres where impactful changes can take root. Here we explore how Airbnb property owners like yourself can create an environmentally-conscious experience and contribute towards sustainable tourism ahead of COP28.

Make recycling simple

Understanding recycling and waste separation can be a bit of a puzzle for your guests, given that it’s handled differently from place to place. That’s why dedicating a few moments to explaining recycling practices in your home can have a positive environmental impact.

If you haven’t taken this step yet, a great starting point is to do some research about the types of materials that can be recycled in your local area. Then, create a designated space where your guests can easily sort their waste — this should ideally be easily accessible and visible, so your guests are reminded to properly sort their items.

To make the process even more user-friendly, consider using labels or bins of different colors to separate the various types of materials. For instance, you could have one bin for paper, another for plastic, a different color bin for glass, one for cans, and another for food waste. These visual cues can help guests quickly identify where each type of waste should go, making recycling a seamless experience.

Compost food waste

Speaking of efficient disposal, food waste presents a significant challenge in the UAE. An enormous 38% of the food prepared here on a daily basis ends up being thrown away. Then, as it breaks down in landfills, it releases methane gas — a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. In response to this critical issue, the UAE has introduced the National Food Loss and Waste Initiative (Ne’ma) with the target of reducing food waste by 50% before 2030.

There are many easy ways to contribute towards this as an Airbnb property owner. For example, instead of letting your guests just toss leftovers in the bin, you can get them to compost leftover food and turn it into fertilizer. As OddBox points out, it’s easy to make your own compost heap, even if you have no garden, as all you need is a few basic household items such as a small container with a lid, shredded newspaper, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

To bring your guests on board, remember to highlight the importance of composting and guidance on how to do so in your guest handbook. When visitors understand the process, they’re more likely to actively participate and help to do their bit to help the planet.

Upgrade lighting

Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of lighting in your Airbnb property. Opting for energy-efficient bulbs can make a big difference in cutting down your energy usage and being kinder to the environment. One smart move is to switch to LED (Light Emitting Diode) lightbulbs, which boast countless benefits compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

LED bulbs have an impressive lifespan — often lasting up to 50,000 hours or more. This means fewer replacements, plus diminished waste and reduced demand for the manufacturing of new bulbs, which in turn conserves resources and reduces the environmental impact of lighting. Naturally, this also means you’ll need to replace LED bulbs far less frequently, cutting ongoing maintenance and replacement costs.

What’s more, LEDs emit very little heat while producing light. This not only makes them safer to handle but also contributes to a cooler indoor environment. As a result, you may find yourself relying a little less on air conditioning, leading to additional energy savings.

Final thoughts

Your commitment to sustainable tourism can ripple through the Airbnb community, inspiring others to make conscious choices. As COP28 underscores the urgency of global warming, let’s seize the opportunity to create positive change, one booking at a time. For more inspiration, don’t miss our blog on sustainable living in Dubai.

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