Making better choices for the environment and the communities we live in within London, has never been more critical. Extreme weather conditions have become common in the UK with heatwaves and flash floods occurring in 2019.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the independent UK government advisory body, has said that 2020 is the year that action must be taken if we are going to meet net-zero emissions targets nationally by 2050. And just last week, Sadiq Khan vowed to make London carbon neutral by 2030 if he’s re-elected as mayor in the May elections.
But how do you make changes today, as a homeowner and Airbnb host, that will have a positive impact on your carbon emissions tomorrow? As a short let property management company who are on a journey to become carbon neutral, we thought we’d share some ideas with you.
1. Avoid single-use plastics
Food packaging, bottled water, shopping bags, plastic straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups have found their way into most people’s everyday lives. We are now all having to make a concerted effort to eradicate ourselves of these disposable plastics.
Stop purchasing bottled water and instead encourage guests to drink tap water by buying a water filter jug that you can keep in your fridge. Another alternative is to provide eco-friendly cartons of water for your guests. We supply our guests with boxes of water from One Water, who fund clean water projects around the world.
Have some reusable shopping bags in the cupboard, so your guests don’t need to use plastic bags when they buy their groceries. And have a stash of metal straws in your kitchen drawer.
2. Recycle or upcycle as much as possible
Make sure you recycle all your household rubbish effectively to avoid it ending up in a landfill site. The London recycles website is a good source of information on what can be recycled and how.
Leave clear instructions for your guests on how they should dispose of rubbish and how the recycling works. Buy biodegradable and compostable bin liners.
If you’re a fan of crafting and making things for your home you could try your hand at giving jars, bottles, cans and plastic trays a new lease of life by reinventing them as storage containers or ornaments. For inspiration and ideas on what to make, take a look on YouTube or Pinterest.
3. Reduce your water consumption
On average, in the UK we each use 143 litres of water per day. You can reduce your personal water usage in several ways. Take shorter showers, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, only use the washing machine and dishwasher when you’ve got a full-load and water plants and gardens with a watering can rather than a hosepipe or sprinkler system.
People have become accustomed to seeing signage in hotel bathrooms, asking them to consider the environment and save water. The majority of guests won’t have a problem following similar requests in your home so add advice on how they can save water into your guest manual.
4. Use your car less (or trade-in for an electric vehicle)
One-third of car journeys in London are less than two-miles. If you can walk, cycle or use public transport as an alternative to jumping in your car for short trips you’ll be helping your bank balance as well as the air quality.
If you’re thinking about changing your car, consider an electric or hybrid vehicle to reduce your future emissions. We’ve replaced our petrol vehicles with electric cars and vans to reduce our emissions.
Give your guests advice on how to navigate London’s public transport network, including how to hire a Santander Cycle if there’s a docking station in your neighbourhood. There are a few safe carpooling apps such as BlaBlaCar that operate in London that you could also recommend.
5. Switch to ecological, natural & Fairtrade products
There can be chemicals and active ingredients in your cleaning products that may harm the environment as well as your family. If your cleaning materials contain chemicals, look to replace them with natural green alternatives once supplies have run out.
All Ecover products are plant-based and available in refillable packaging. The Ecover Zero range is also allergy-approved and fragrance-free, making it a safe option for your family, pets and visitors. We use Ecover laundry, and cleaning products and our guest toiletries are from Eco-Boutique.
Keep your kitchen cupboard stocked with eco-friendly household products and microfibre cloths and mops so your guests can clean up after themselves in sustainable ways too.
6. Be more energy efficient
There is a range of ways in which you can make your home more energy-efficient, reducing your bills in the process.
The simplest and cheapest ways to save energy are to switch off appliances when you’re not using them, swap to energy-efficient light bulbs and only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle. Ask your guests to switch off lights and not to leave appliances on standby when not in use.
If you have a thermostat with a timer, schedule the heating and hot water to come on only when you need it rather than throughout the day.
If you’re looking to replace any of your appliances soon, check out those with an energy rating of A+ or better. Upgrades to boilers, heating systems and insulation, while not cheap, can have a positive impact on your energy consumption and bills.
7. Eat organic & local produce
You can support local businesses as well as reduce your carbon footprint by buying food and groceries from local providers. Choose locally sourced organic produce as it will have travelled fewer miles and won’t have been subjected to additives, hormones and chemical processes. Leave your guests with a list of places where they can shop locally, including regular markets. We stock our hosts’ homes with delicious, organic and sustainable tea bags, coffee pods and chocolate bars.
Check out restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops in your neighbourhood, so you have a few personal recommendations for your guests. Include some vegan or vegetarian options, so there’s something for everyone. We’ve pulled together a list of our favourite vegan restaurants across London that you can read about in our recent blog post. Our guest team, based at our Reception Spaces, have lots of local restaurant recommendations.
Are you interested in hassle-free sustainable hosting in London?
We’ve implemented sustainability initiatives across our day-to-day operations for the benefit of our hosts, guests, the local community and the environment. This includes luxury eco-friendly products and guest amenities at hosts’ homes as well as at our Reception Spaces. Find out how much you could earn from short letting you London home using our instant rent estimation tool.
Or are you visiting London and want to stay in a sustainable home?
All our homes are kitted out with luxury eco-friendly guest amenities including cartons of One Water, toiletries from Eco-Boutique, organically grown coffee, Fairtrade teabags and Doisy & Dam chocolates. Search through our beautiful handpicked homes in London to see if there’s something that takes your fancy.