Top of page.

The evolution of hospitality: From bottled water to sustainable solutions 

Within the hospitality sector, the gesture of providing bottled water in hotel rooms has been a customary practice for decades. However, more recently concern has grown over the vast use of single-use plastic and people are a lot more environmentally conscious now with a heightened focus on sustainable travel and corporate responsibility, hotels and the hospitality sector as a whole are seeking more sustainable ways to provide fresh drinking water for guests. 

Borg & Overstrom E6 water dispenser with water bottle on living wall background

The tradition of leaving water in hotel guest rooms can be traced back to the late 20th century, it was a way of providing comfort, convenience and hydration to guests. This thoughtful touch soon became a standard expectation, symbolising hospitality and care. 

Fast forward a century and there is much more awareness of the environmental ramifications to supplying bottled water in guest rooms. Plastic pollution is a huge global concern today and with 1500 plastic bottles being thrown away every second of every day, it’s no wonder. These bottles are only used for the briefest of moments but the impact of the discarded plastic has a massive impact on polluting oceans, harming wildlife and exacerbating climate change. 

Bottled water washed up on beach

There is a huge impact of cost, time and storage on plastic bottled water. Not only do the bottles initially need to be purchased, but the goods also need to be received, they also need to be stored, often in cramped cupboards and basements. The bottles are delivered to the rooms daily which has huge implications on cost and time and man hours required. 

In response to these concerns, there has been a notable shift towards more sustainable alternatives in the hospitality sector. One such solution gaining traction is the adoption of water dispensers in hotels. These dispensers are designed to accommodate refillable bottles or carafes, providing guests with a convenient and eco-friendly way to stay hydrated during their stay. The water dispenser could be accessible to guests in the lobby, it can also be placed back of house for the staff to be able to refill and replenish water vessels. Integrated drinking water drinking taps can be placed directly into rooms, with hot taps replacing kettles and chilled water taps providing hydrating refreshment. 

Reception and lobby in Kievskiy hotel complex in Moscow
Reception and lobby in “Kievskiy” hotel complex in Moscow

The charitable organisation, Made Blue, who help to raise funds and provide clean water to those in need, are working with hotels to encourage the installation of water dispensers with the aim of encouraging guests to use re-fillable bottles and help themselves to as much clean, filtered water as they like. By replacing single-use plastic bottles with refillable options, hotels can significantly reduce their environmental footprint. Not only does this mitigate plastic waste, but it also helps to lower energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with the production and transportation of bottled water. 

Bottled water alternatives - re-usable bottles.

Implementing water dispensers with refillable options aligns with environmental stewardship and also presents economic benefits for hotels. While there may be initial investment costs associated with installing dispensers, the long-term savings from reduced spending on single-use plastic bottles can be significant. Placing a water dispenser or integrated tap system for every 10 rooms in a hotel can create huge savings, both on cost and sustainability: 

  • Annual cost savings: £1.63M  
  • Annual bottles saved: 32M 
  • Annual plastic saved: 576 tons 

Borg & Overström is working with Radisson Blu, Bucharest, the Marriot hotel, Czech Republic, Hilton, Lisbon Portugal to name but a few where we are supporting the replacement of single use plastic bottles in the hotels with sustainable water dispensers.  

In conclusion, embracing water dispensers with refillable options represents a step towards a more sustainable future—one where comfort and care for guests coexist harmoniously with environmental responsibility and operational efficiency. 

Our drinking water dispensers are available through selected partners