Because we are training the next generation of hospitality leaders, it is important they understand the effect of housekeeping products on our environment and our health. What can be used to replace the harmful chemicals found in the products we use?
Tania Thompson teaches Science for Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland in Le Bouveret and explains what the “Green Housekeeping” project is.
Tell us about the “Green Housekeeping” project.
When I was asked to teach Science for Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism, I wanted to explore how I could make the content relevant and applicable for our students, so I decided to focus on housekeeping.
At the moment, students are researching different chemicals used in cleaning products, analyzing labels, identifying the ingredients used, and have been asked to find alternative solutions.
We are working with a generation that is very much aware of the current environmental crisis and is upset that previous generations have not been more careful. These projects empower them to know that they can change the current situation.
Most of our students will become managers and be in a position to implement alternative solutions in the workplace. They will understand that green housekeeping is not only about safeguarding the environment, but also preserving the health of employees as well. When you use a product, it is always important to consider its safety. Do as much research as you can on what is listed on the label, understand what the ingredients are, their impact on the environment and on your health, then decide on an alternative that works by experimenting.
What inspired you to explore green housekeeping?
As an environmental scientist, I was sensitive to the issue of green housekeeping. Though traditional cleaning products are effective, I would always ask myself how bad they were for the environment once they went down the drain. Therefore, I started investigating alternative products, testing, and seeing what worked. I realized they were just as effective as chemical products, though it might take you a bit longer to get a surface as clean. Vinegar, for example, is one of the most effective natural cleaning products, you just need to use it quite regularly.
I discovered that making your own alternatives to traditional products will require a bit more time, but it actually ends up being cheaper.
In order to adopt a more natural and healthier lifestyle, we have to change and adapt our mindsets.
Realistically, we are a culture of convenience, so we are not going to change things overnight. Change will happen one step at a time.
Mix, pour into a bottle with a spray nozzle, and use to clean most surfaces.