Invercargill's Ascot Park Hotel has taken an environmental leap and ditched cleaning chemicals in favour of water and microfibre cloths.
Executive manager Peter Ridsdale said after months of testing the hotel took the plunge to 100 per cent chemical-free cleaning yesterday.
The move is expected to save $6000 in chemical costs annually and has helped secure the hotel three "green" conferences – for Apparelmaster, Environment Southland and a yet-to-be-named tourism organisation.
Other benefits have included less irritation for housekeepers, asthmatic guests raving about the rooms and social media commentator Craig Garner, who travels extensively, said he was blown away by the cleanliness of the room he stayed in.
Laboratory tests during an eight-week trial in which 10 rooms were cleaned with microfibre cloth and 10 with chemicals showed a massive difference in cleanliness.
The bacterial count in rooms cleaned chemically was 179, while in the microfibre rooms it was just 11.
"The only real downside is the room really doesn't smell like anything at all," Mr Ridsdale said.
The move was part of a four-year journey that began with a sustainability audit, resulting in a huge recycling project and an electrical audit that led to new light bulbs and $1000 a month savings.
The latest environmental project for the Invercargill Licensing Trust hotel is a plan to spearhead rejuvenation of Dog Island and joining forces with the Department of Conservation and Maritime New Zealand to investigate its historical, ecological and tourism potential.
The hotel had given $10,000 from one of the hotel's guest washing machines as an initial funding injection. Being a part of the sustainable movement was a huge thrill, Mr Ridsdale said.
"I'm not a greenie by any stretch of the imagination but I've embarked on a trail that's getting greener and greener.
"It has a feel-good factor not just for me but everyone else that works here as well," he said.
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