Las Vegas Sands, through its award-winning global sustainability program, Sands ECO360, is wholly committed to reducing its impact on the planet and is a leader in sustainable building development and Integrated Resort operations. Through these efforts, departments at all properties worldwide adhere to sustainable practices in all facets of business.
At The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas, the housekeeping department has developed a long list of initiatives allowing for better operations, while also reducing waste. All paper products such as old magazines and newspapers are collected separately on each floor of the Integrated Resorts and recycled, while the same is done with all broken glass like table tops, wine glasses, and bottles. Wire hangers from bath robes delivered after laundry service are collected and returned to the laundry company for reuse. Unused and leftover bathroom amenities like soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion are all collected and donated to Clean the World for sanitizing and recycling. In part with Team Member engagement, the Sustainability department at the property conducts the Green Ideas Challenge, where anyone can submit an idea to make the properties and departments more sustainable, with many of the ideas becoming property-wide initiatives.
“One of the latest initiatives we are launching right now is to collect all guest supplies which may not be acceptable for our guest use, however could still be used,” Sandra Wild, executive director of Hotel Operations Housekeeping Services, said. “This includes any trash cans, tissue holders, ice buckets, alarm clocks, wood hangers, and other items with scratches, marks or broken parts that may not be presentable in guest suites any longer, but are still in decent condition to be donated and reused elsewhere. All of the items, once collected, will be donated to local nonprofit organizations.”
Wild says she finds it heart wrenching to believe that something that could easily be thrown away, can make a world of difference and change someone’s life by just gathering it and donating it. She says that these small changes and efforts by housekeeping staff have been a good change to implement.
“We continue to find ways to keep our luxury standards but also help our community partners,” she said. “Our linens are now turned into cleaning cloths to be reused within our properties. In 2008, we spent one million dollars to rent them and pay for the cleaning and maintenance of them. We were able to reduce that cost to $300,000 and now we have a specific color thread that indicates what chemical to use with which rag. Opportunity Village threads the cloths for us and it’s been a great implementation to our department.”
In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands has maintained ECO360’s goal of reducing waste by recycling, upcycling and diverting waste with anything that can be found on property. In 2017, the property was able to recycle 28,426 uniforms. With regular talks in regards to global warming and depleting resources, Winnie Fam, director of Housekeeping Operations at Marina Bay Sands, says their efforts gradually lead to new implementations. They are also able to fine-tune their existing initiatives.
“We handle a wide range of amenities and that gives us control of what we discard,” she said. “Being a large department and covering a large area, we have many eyes looking out for things like water leaks and energy saving opportunities around the properties. Every individual plays a small part, each small part contributes to the bigger movement. Team Members have a ‘feel good’ factor and they are able to see the measurements made by their personal contributions.”
Other departments within Las Vegas Sands’ portfolio of properties are also looking to reduce their environmental impact and establish processes that can be carried forward for years to come. Relying on outside vendors is also a strategy that some departments rely on in order to maintain the sustainable operations at all properties.
“Since we do not produce any of the products we use for cleaning supplies and equipment in-house, we have a strong dependency on our partners and vendors to provide us with the best and most sustainable options,” Ryan Shin, buyer in Procurement for The Venetian and The Palazzo said. “Our department has the most interaction with our vendors and we also have the capability to generate reports and find target areas where we can improve. By having a sustainable purchasing department we are able to source the best products for our property while ensuring that the products that we source are environmentally responsible. By utilizing products that are friendly towards the environment we are able to provide a better working environment for our Team Members and a high functioning luxury experience for our guests while emphasizing our goals of responsible sourcing.”
Some of the initiatives implemented by the Procurement and Purchasing departments in Las Vegas are: Green Chemical Program, a global chemical bid for cleaning chemicals, working with suppliers to find a product that works well for the properties needs but also meets all green/sustainable criteria; Paper products (paper towels, facial tissues, and napkins) used on property are all environmentally friendly stemming from either Rapidly Renewable Fibers or Post Consumer, which gives the paper products their Green Seal and also falls under the companies sustainability initiatives; Floor pads being used are pads available that do not use any harsh adhesives which allows for a safer, greener product for Team Members and guests.
“All of our departments have a strong understanding and common belief that it is our responsibility to source the best and most environmentally friendly products,” Shin said. “The common understanding is that if we can implement products and projects that are more sustainable without sacrificing extra expenses and labor, they usually work well. Purchasing in general has always been about working with all of our vendors and partners to find a more sustainable option for our property. In the future, I hope we can implement more strategic projects that can minimalize waste, be environmentally safer, and work with other departments on find and test products that reduce our carbon footprint.”