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Everyone loves staying in a hotel – but how can you make your stay more sustainable?

Who doesn’t love staying in a hotel? It’s such a treat to settle into a home-away-from-home, order some room service and have your room cleaned while you’re out exploring. But just because you’ve set up shop in a temporary accommodation, doesn’t mean that you can’t be sustainable while you’re there. Here are some tips for how you can be eco-friendly in your hotel and the steps that Wānaka hotels are taking to provide a sustainable experience for their guests!

What you can do

There are some simple things that you can do to stay green in your accommodation. Opt to not have your sheets and towels changed and cleaned every day. Fewer loads of laundry directly correlate to less water consumption.

You should also always turn off your air-con and electronics before you leave. While it can be tempting to want to come back to a nice cool room, having your air-con unit on all day is a major waste of electricity.

If you can, you should always try to recycle and compost at your hotel. Many accommodation providers in Wānaka provide recycling bins in their guestrooms and some are moving towards providing composting receptacles. If you’re not sure about what you can and can’t recycle, our friends at the Queenstown Lakes Districts Council have provided this handy guide.

Finally, any clothing you’re not bringing home with you (or can’t fit in your suitcase – we won’t judge) should be brought to Wastebusters, where it will be rehomed.

Sustainable op shop in Wanaka.

What to look for

When considering accommodation, look for providers who are making steps to provide a more sustainable experience. Hotels that have made the switch from individual toiletries to bulk dispensers (limiting plastic use) or give you the option to refuse daily cleaning or use chemical-free cleaning products are all favourable.

The Wānaka Hotel, for example, has gone completely plastic bag free. They generate little to no organic waste and are completely chemical-free.


Another hotel leading the charge is Edgewater Wanaka. Edgewater works with Te Kakano Trust to safely remove lupins from the property – lupins endanger Wānaka’s native plants. They also donate a portion of their souvenir shop proceeds to the Trust. Additionally, they’ve created an on-site scavenger hunt for children staying on the property to learn about our native plants and inspire the next generation to care for the environment. Edgewater has replaced their individual toiletries with dispensers and return all their single-use soap bars to the local crafter for recycling.

Aerial view of Edgewater Wanaka

At the Wanaka Homestead, they’re working to minimize their footprint as well. In addition to bulk toiletries and reusable bottles, they also encourage their guests to limit their water use. Additionally, they locally source all their breakfast foods. Finally, they rely on renewable energy to help power the property.

When choosing your accommodation, be sure to look for a Qualmark logo. Qualmark is a certification that highlights tourism providers who are delivering a quality sustainable experience, who have safe principles and practices, and showcase true New Zealand hospitality. Qualmark accommodation providers in Wanaka include:

That Wanaka Tree at sunrise