Home Publisher's Point of View Water Bottle Filling Stations: A No Brainer You Should Consider & Implement

Water Bottle Filling Stations: A No Brainer You Should Consider & Implement

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Experts generally agree that approximately 50 billion plastic bottles are used each year in the United States. Only about one-quarter of those are recycled. The lodging industry is certainly an enabler when it comes to plastic bottle waste. One can typically find plastic bottled beverages wherever there is a soda machine or gift shop. What I consider to be a no brainer when it comes to reducing plastic bottle waste is bottle filling stations.

This past week I wrapped up an article on bottle filling stations. They are just beginning to take hold in our industry and are currently available primarily through three companies: FloWater, Haws and Elkay. If you have not yet considered placing bottle filling stations on guestroom floors, in lobby areas, fitness rooms, back of house areas, etc., you need to start doing it. You can reduce waste, save money from not having to purchase, store and manage bottles, and possibly even make money through the sale of refillable bottles. A lot of people today carry around their own refillable bottles. In fact, one supplier told me the refillable bottle industry is $1.5 billion in size.

I have mentioned the Hilton San Francisco Union Square before in this space and over a 10-month period after installing bottle filling stations, they avoided the disposal of 200,000 plastic water bottles. They know this because the machines they use tally the totals. In the first two weeks of using bottle filling stations, guests and employees at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno, Nevada avoided the purchase of 15,000 water bottles. The Whitney Peak Hotel sells refillable bottles to its guests for $15.

Minimal Maintenance Required

What I learned during research for my article is that there are many different variations of floor standing, wall-mounted and countertop filling stations. The extent of filtration also varies—from a single-stage process to seven stages. Chilled or non-chilled are also options. Both purchase and leasing options are typically available and maintenance is minimal. Machines include alerts when filters are no longer usable and filters are very easy to change.

Bottle filling stations are now standard for Hilton’s Canopy brand. That is the only brand that I know of that has committed to the stations. Interestingly, at the Concord Suites in Avalon, N.J., area folks have learned about the property’s filling stations and often stop by while biking or walking.

When transitioning to bottle filling stations, it certainly makes sense to give all employees refillable bottles or at least washable containers. At the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 1,100 employees have been given washable containers to use.

Bottle filling stations can become amenities that guests love and expect—especially when paired with a premium purification system and attractive refillable bottles. Niki Gross, Managing Director of the Whitney Peak Hotel, told me filling stations have been mentioned by guests in reviews appearing on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Booking.com.

Read my article on bottle filling stations and let me know what you think. To me, they are one of those no brainers that can go a long way in dramatically reducing the plastic bottle waste generated by our industry.

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