The top 300 hotel companies in the world throw away enough hotel linen to circle the globe every six months, according to research carried out by SleepingBags – a social enterprise in East London.
SleepingBags was created to directly address the issue of retired hotel linen, after entrepreneur Andy Marks discovered that tonnes of luxurious fabric was being thrown into landfill. The research was recently conducted to find the true extent of the problem.
Established in 2011 SleepingBags makes use of the otherwise unwanted material, by reselling the retired linen back to top hotels as luxurious and often bespoke hotel accessories. The social enterprise works with local artists, designers and manufactures to ensure that unwanted bed and table linen is transformed into laundry bags, suit carriers, soft furnishings and tote bags that are not only beautiful but carry a positive environmental message.
Speaking to the Big Issue Online Journalists Andy Marks, SleepingBags founder and director said: “We want our products to send a positive message that makes people think about waste, so it’s important for us that our customers are not compromising with a green product, that they’re getting a better product than the one we’re replacing,” He added, “I hope that in some way SleepingBags can make people think about the environmental issue differently, as green products are not just for the future but for today.”
For SleepingBags it is important that the products have a positive environmental message, not only to make people think about where all products come from and how they’re made but also where they go to at the end of their life. This why the social enterprise has chosen to create a ‘material loop’ by reselling the retired linen back to the hotels as merchandise, as this most strongly emphasises the waste within the hotel industry.
When asked about SleepingBags moving forward Andy Marks said: “We want to try and do something that has scale and I think allot of what we have done so far is to refine the model of what the market wants” He added, “The interesting thing about the hotel industry is that it is a global business and there are global brands and that’s why we’re partnering with the big companies to try and roll this out around the world, so what we would like to try and do is partner hotel companies, travel companies and airlines and so on around the world, so wherever you fly or wherever you stay there is one of our products that tells you a little, or makes you think a little bit more about the environment.”
The social enterprise, however ambitious it maybe, recognises the problem is so enormous that it will not make a huge impact on the amount of material being wasted by the hotel industry. However by making its green products SleepingBags is able to highlight the issue of waste within a global industry, which it hopes will inspire a new wave of positive environmental behaviour.
To find out more visit SleepingBags website