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HI USA Environmental Standards

From our hostel buildings and guest activities, to the local partnerships and events we hold within our hostel communities, we express HI USA’s commitment to sustainable travel through every aspect of our organization.

Each of our properties across the country follows these environmental standards:


  • Hostels must replace burned out incandescent light bulbs with CFL, LED, or better light bulbs.
  • Hostels have in place a purchasing policy for replacement of energy-consuming equipment (e.g. air conditioners) that requires the selection of ENERGY STAR models


  • Hostels have in place a linen and towel conservation program that eliminates daily sheet and towel service, unless by guest request.
  • Hostels use faucet aerators that consume no more than 2.2 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch.
  • Hostels use shower heads that consume no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch.
  • Hostels install tank toilets with 1.28 gallons per flush and/or a dual flush handle or non-tank (flush-o-meter) toilets with a dual flush handle.
  • Hostels install urinals with 0.5 gallons per flush or less including waterless urinals.

Waste and Materials

  • Hostels maintain a recycling program for guests and staff that ensures recycling of paper, cardboard, paperboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum. In addition to providing in-hostel containers, the hostel ensures waste is separated and hauled appropriately.
  • Hostels maintain a recycling program for staff that ensures recycling of toner cartridges, rechargeable and heavy batteries, bulk waste, and safe disposal of hazardous/universal wastes and fluorescent lamps.
  • Hostels donate items deemed no longer usable but still carrying value to another hostel, shelter, non-profit, place of worship, consignment business or other suitable recipient.
  • Hostels eliminate the use of disposable cups, dishes, and cutlery for regular day-to-day operations.
  • Hostels reduce and control the volume of disposable, one-time use products given to guests, including most notably soap and shampoo bottles and other personal care products.


  • Hostels purchase janitorial paper (toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue) made of 30% recycled content or better (post-consumer waste preferred).
  • Hostels purchase copier paper and other office paper products (folders, envelopes, and notepads) made of 30% recycled content (post-consumer waste preferred) or better.
  • Hostels purchase Green Seal, UL Eco Logo, Safer Choice (or equivalent) labeled cleaning products. Products are preferably purchased in concentrate and diluted on-site to reduce packaging use.

Communication and Education

  • Hostels display information on public transit options between the hostel and nearby sights, destinations, and transportation connections.
  • Hostels display signage that informs guests of the specific environmental commitments of the hostel and/or assists guests in contributing to the environmental commitment of the evaluated hostel.

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