Water refill stations help travellers reduce plastic

Make it easy for the guests in your short-term rental properties to ditch single-use plastic and drink safe water

We know that reducing plastic is a key concern for consumers. Interestingly, this is borne out in the latest sustainability study by insights company, Mintel. In their 2023 Global Outlook on Sustainability study, they interviewed 16000 consumers across 16 countries. Water shortages and plastic consumption are the two number one areas of concern.

When people travel, they are often drawn to destinations near water for its calming and relaxing atmosphere. An amazing 70% of our planet is ocean and appallingly, every 60 seconds, a truckload of plastic is dumped in it.

Consequently, vacation rental properties have a real opportunity to be part of protecting our oceans and marine life. You can play a key role in making it easy for guests to avoid single-use plastic. Plus, you will save money in the process. Here are some ideas for simple actions you can take in your properties. From providing water filters to highlighting water refill stations.


1. Get rid of plastic water bottles

Water refill stations help travellers reduce plastic

One of the biggest sources of plastic in short-term rentals is likely to be bottled mineral water. This is obvious in destinations where the local water is not safe to drink. However, drinking mineral water has become the norm for a lot of people in the past few decades. This has resulted in vacation rental owners providing bottled water as a courtesy to guests. Additionally, guests are buying large quantities of plastic bottles during their stay. Buying bottled water adds to your purchasing costs and your staff’s time to deal with the empty bottles.

We know you are always looking for ways to save money and guests want to reduce their plastic waste. So, take the decision to stop giving bottled water to guests but make it easy for them to find alternatives.


DID YOU KNOW? – Getting rid of plastic water bottles in your property can get you up to 3.00% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.

Why is it part of the criteria? Travellers do not want to be buying mineral water in plastic bottles. Plastic is one of their number one environmental concerns. For property owners and managers, providing complimentary water can be costly and disposing of plastic water bottles is time-consuming.


2. Provide water filters in your properties

Water refill stations help travellers reduce plastic

A simple way to provide free, safe drinking water is to have a water filter in your properties. There are various options from simple jugs which can be put in the fridge to more sophisticated water filter machines.

Water filter jugs are obviously the cheapest option and can be put in the fridge. The only downside is that they need regular cleaning and the filters need replacing quite often. You may also need more than one if you are catering to larger groups.

Another solution is to buy water filter machines. Some will dispense both still and sparkling water, which is also chilled. Alternatively, you could opt for built-in taps which connect direct to your water supply and filter the water as it is poured. There are other products that do not require electricity, as they filter the water through a really high-grade filter that lasts for many years. With these, you could even filter pond water to become drinkable! For all these solutions, you can provide reusable glass bottles to store cold water in the fridge.


PRO TIP: We recommend TAPP WATER – use SUSTONICA10 for a 10% discount!


The most sophisticated option is a water machine that filters and dispenses both hot and cold water. This type of machine uses much less electricity than boiling a kettle and there is always hot water on demand as well as cold.


DID YOU KNOW? – Having a water filter can get you up to 3,00% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.

Why is it part of the criteria? Having a water filter in your property will remove the need to buy bottled water, both for you and your guests. Filters eliminate unpleasant tastes, odours and more than 100 potentially harmful substances.


3. Signpost water refill stations and drinkable water fountains

Water refill stations help travellers reduce plastic

According to Google Trends, the search term “free water refill station near me” has increased by 60% in the last 12 months. So, this shows that people are actively looking for places to fill up their reusable water bottles. Furthermore, it is very common these days to see people carrying stainless steel water bottles so that they can stay hydrated on the go.


Why not help your guests easily find water refill stations and water fountains near your properties? All you need to do is add a section to your digital guide showing guests where to go and fill up their own bottles. Also, if you decide not to install a
water filtration system, you can just supply glass water bottles. Then your guests can use them at water refill stations if they exist near you. Also remember to let them know about water fountains to fill up their reusable bottles when they are out and


Here’s what you need to do for your digital guide.

  • Create a section called something like ‘Drinking Water’
  • Open Google Maps with your Location switched on
  • Type in your local language both “drinking water fountain” and “water refill station”
  • You should be able to add these to your digital guidebook as a really handy reference for your guests
  • Remember to add an introductory paragraph to explain that you have banned single-use plastic in your property in order to cut down on waste and protect marine life.


DID YOU KNOW? – Having a list of drinking water fountains and water refill stations nearby can get you up to 3,00% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Signposting places where guests can refill their water bottles helps them avoid buying plastic water bottles. Additionally, it makes it easy for them to stay hydrated whilst they are out enjoying your destination.


4. Branded water bottles for guests

Water refill stations help travellers reduce plastic

When guests travel, they often choose to bring a minimum of luggage. Stainless steel reusable drinking water bottles can be quite heavy. Not to mention the fact that you cannot take them onboard a plane full of water. So, lots of travelers decide to travel without one. So why not produce branded water bottles for your guests to use during their stay with you? You could gift these for them to take back home as a constant promotion for your property. Or you can make them reusable and remind guests to leave them behind for reuse.

Check out two more of our Insights to help you reduce plastic waste and water consumption:

5 Effective Ideas to Encourage Recycling in Vacation Rentals
Save Water in Vacation Rentals: Apps & Devices

Sources: Oceanic Global, Mintel 2023 Global Outlook on Sustainability study


Your real superpower is that you can now encourage hundreds of travelers to reduce their single-use plastic when they go back home!

Print a Sustainability chart for your vacation rental and list all the things that you do with regard to:

  • energy efficiency
  • waste reduction
  • water conservation
  • respect of the community
  • promoting the destination
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