How we're making your stay more sustainable
Given that water is more or less the single most important resource to our survival on Earth, we take water consumption and conservation pretty seriously! As a result, we've put the following water conservation efforts in place across our network:
- 3 – 5 star rated water-saving bathroom and shower fixtures across the network
- Dual flush toilets installed in most of our properties
- Front loader washing machines (which use far less water)
- Rainwater tanks to water gardens and flush toilets in a number of properties
- Drought-resistant gardens in many of our locations
- Signage in bathrooms encouraging guests to minimise water usage
Switching of the lights when you leave the room at home might seem like an inconvenience, but when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, every little bit helps – and we've got quite a few more 'homes' to look after! We're minimising our energy usage with the following initiatives:
- All properties use low energy light bulbs, with LED lighting installed wherever possible.
- Solar power (photo-voltaic) systems provide a large chunk of the electrical needs of an ever-increasing number of properties, including Alice Springs, Sydney Harbour and Grampians
- Even more properties enjoy solar-powered hot water systems
- Key card activated lighting and air-conditioning is present in our large city locations, with motion and sensor lighting commonplace in other properties.
- Air-conditioning controlled by a building management system
- Signage in rooms to encourage guests to turn off the lights and air conditioning
- Many of our properties proudly participate in Earth Hour
- Washing lines are installed at all possible properties to reduce power usage and give your clothes a little sunshine love!
- Many YHAs offer free use of bikes, boogie boards and surfboards
- YHA always support walking or public transport when organising activities or suggesting trips for our guests
- Many of our built and renovated properties are designed with abundant natural light and airflow to reduce energy needs.
How fortunate are we to get to spend our lives travelling? We try to give back to the people and communities that play host to us wherever we can. Here's just a few of the ways we do:
- Every city location is proud to use Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, who donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world
- Pittwater YHA organises bi-annual volunteer weekends to undertake bush regeneration in the neighbouring National Park
- Adelaide Central YHA has introduced Feel Good Fridays, where pancakes are dished up for a gold coin donation to be gifted to the Hutt Street Centre, providing shelter and food for Adelaide’s homeless
- Both YHA properties and head offices offer internship programs for domestic and international students
- Brisbane City YHA rallies their staff and guests to cook weekly meals for the homeless with OzHarvest
- Our front of house and head office staff are members of local, national and international tourism organisations, responsible for the regulation, maintenance and growth of all aspects of Australian tourism; including reducing our eco-footprint
- Alice Springs YHA offers weekly work experience to special education students
We're pretty firmly into the three R's: reduce, reuse, recycle. As great as recycling is, we're super committed to making the most out of food, clothes and materials, by minimising waste and repurposing wherever possible, before we even think about chucking things in the yellow bin.
- All YHA properties are equipped with recycling, organic waste and general rubbish bins, as well as signage in multiple languages to inform guests of the difference
- We boast swap shelves for books and clothing to keep the love affair alive
- YHAs generally also feature free food shelves and move unnamed food and drinks so they’re up for grabs before they’re inedible (yes – free food!)
- Many YHAs have ceased purchasing plastic cups for activities and takeaway coffee cups in cafes, instead investing in jam jars and reusable cups
- We sell reusable water bottles, ceasing the sale of bottled water from vending machines since 2014
- We use environmentally friendly cleaning products across the board
- You'll find many of our properties offer an on-site herb garden or green wall for guests to spice up their meals and reduce single-use plastic
- Organic waste is collected for composting onsite in many properties
- One to watch: Railway Square YHA (the YHA so green it recycled a whole building into a hostel) is now undergoing an even more dramatic rebirth as part of one of the most ambitious sustainable building projects in Australia!
Our Eco Certified properties
The ECO Certification program assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well-managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based tourism experiences. And by golly, we’ve got three of them! Apollo Bay Eco YHA, Grampains Eco YHA and Pittwater Eco YHA are the jewels in our sustainability crown and we couldn’t be any prouder of what they've achieved.
How can you help?
Firstly – take pride in knowing that shared accommodation such as that YHA provides is by far the lowest-emission form of travel lodging, so by staying with us, you're already ahead of the game. Communal living, resource-pooling, public transport, a reduction in material possessions and an interest in human connection are all key reasons why this is the case.
You can help us work towards an even greener future for YHA by contributing $1 when you book online to the Sustainable Hostels Fund. We’ll match your contribution and use the accumulated funds to make our properties more sustainable. Past projects funded through guest contributions include solar hot water at Byron Bay YHA and Adelaide Central YHA, and solar power at Alice Springs YHA.
You're just scratching the surface when it comes to responsible ways of travelling – learn more here!
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With a donation of $2, you can help fund sustainability projects to reduce the environmental footprints of both our properties and our travellers.