The international Green Key eco-label was launched in Denmark in 1994 and a total of 48 countries all over the world have joined the label by now. Estonia joined the label in 2001 and there are currently slightly over 20 accommodation sites with the Green Key label in Estonia. Such different types of accommodation sites are located all over Estonia: both large hotels and small country houses, and even guest apartments are engaged in green lifestyle.
In Estonia, the awarding process of the Green Key is coordinated by Estonian Tourist Board (Enterprise Estonia) in cooperation with the Tallinn Centre of Stockholm Environment Institute.
To goal is to achieve harmony between quality, convenience, and environmentally friendly activities. Here is a selection of important requirements that influence the visitor and have to be met by the owners of the Green Key. The compliance to these requirements is regularly inspected.
Water requirements. From the fact that all taps, toilet bowls, shower equipment, and dishwashers are chosen based on the water saving principles to various recommended requirements, such as the visitors are offered tap water and toilets use rainwater for flushing.
Cleaning requirements. In addition to more widely known towel replacement only upon the customer's request, the use of detergents is specifically measured out, and certain substances are also excluded.
Waste requirements. A company sorts the waste itself, and it has also made it convenient for the visitors. Any form of over-packaging and the use of disposable cutlery are avoided.
Energy requirements. The new equipment is purchased on the basis of the energy efficiency and the eco-labels, the timers are used, the empty rooms are not heated, the grease filters and ventilation equipment are regularly maintained to ensure that these would not increase energy consumption.
Food requirements. The breakfast menu includes the Estonian products or primary goods to the extent of at least 50%. A dish based on local traditions with its main ingredients manufactured in Estonia are also included in the à la carte menu and visible for the customer. It is recommended to use the ecological and fair trade products.
Landscape maintenance. No pesticides are used in the company's territory, and the terrain is irrigated either in the morning or in the evening to save water.
Purchases. The paper tissues and the toilet paper are eco-labelled or made of chlorine-free paper. The office paper is also eco-labelled or recycled. The Green Key criteria are also followed by the providers of the ordered services (washing, cleaning) and other service providers related to the company (hair salon, health centre). The cars are purchased with low CO2 emissions.
In Estonia, it is also possible for attractions to joint the Green Key: museums, visitor centres, theme parks, zoos, etc.
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