Case study | Hospitality

Youth Hostel Association.

YHA run 120 hostels in varied locations including metropolitan, coastal and rural areas. Many hostels are close to National Parks and areas of outstanding beauty where littering causes particular damage.

Youth Hostel Association Logo

The issue.

Tapping into growing awareness about the environmental impact of plastic YHA worked with SWRnewstar to reduce plastic and single use items in YHA’s hostels. By removing sources of litter (plastic bottles and disposables) YHA improved the local environment. These initiatives also supported the organisation’s ethos and resonated with guests.

The solution.

Following a series of ‘lift the lid’ visits to understand bin contents and site operational practices, along with data analysis, SWRnewstar made recommendations to YHA.

An innovative approach was introduced linking several change programmes; from installing water Refill stations and hand dryers, reducing paper coffee cups, removing stirrers and plastic straws from the supply chain.

YHA formed a partnership with Refill to install water stations where guests can fill water bottles for free.

Schools groups staying at YHA sites with a Refill point were asked to bring a refillable water bottle. Plastic bottles were removed from packed lunches and children encouraged to use the Refill points whilst staying, creating lasting habits. YHA offices also removed plastic bottles.

Single use straws and stirrers were removed from hostels and purchasing lists.

Cost analysis of paper towels vs installing and running hand dryers confirmed the commercial benefit of dryers. A rollout programme was implemented, starting at high usage sites

The solution worked across the supply chain; changing operational processes to reduce waste which impacted procurement patterns and encouraged guests to adapt new behaviours.

"500,000 plastic bottles removed from supply chain."
YHA Berwick

The results.

litter bin 500,000 plastic bottles removed from supply chain
recycle 2.95m handtowels removed from bins
money £100,000 direct savings

Where next?