What WE do

We work hard to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to sustainability in our hostel network. Here are a few examples of our current initiatives and some of the results we’ve achieved.

Green Footprint Project

This provides an opportunity for hostellers to give back by purchasing a native shrub or tree at any hostel to help offset the impact of their travel on the environment. Click here to find out more.

Qualmark Responsible Tourism

It’s not just about fancy shampoos and mints on your pillow – what’s more important is whether your accommodation provider is committed to the environment. In 2008 Qualmark introduced new Responsible Tourism standards as part of the Qualmark assessment process. We are implementing these standards across our network. Click here to find out more.

Switching it off

We are always looking for ways to reduce our energy consumption. This is not only good for the planet but good for the bottom line. We want to maximise energy efficiency and use green and renewable energy sources to minimise our emissions and other harmful impacts. We have a number of initiatives in place which has resulted in many of our hostels seeing a big reduction in their power consumption.

Our current energy initiatives include energy efficient light bulbs, insulated hot water cylinders where possible, ceiling and wall insulation, movement sensor light switches, energy efficient heat pumps and hot water heat pumps, grey water heat recovery systems, recladding and installing double glazing, and replacing domestic appliances with energy efficient commercial models.      

 We love recycling!

All YHA-managed hostels have clearly marked recycling facilities in the kitchens for plastics, glass, paper/cardboard, aluminium and tin and we have been adding recycling stations in hallways and in guest rooms where possible. In some hostels our contract cleaners separate room waste. We also have fluorescent tube recycling, battery recycling, used clothing collection, reuse of courier bags and even our membership card are now made with recycled PVC!

Some of our hostels have seen a massive 50% increase in the amount of recycling collected and which is no longer going to the landfill. It goes to show every little bit makes a difference.

Water, water

We know our clean water is precious and we want to protect this valuable resource. So we’ve put in place a number of water saving schemes throughout the YHA network.  This includes the Clever Flush water saving device installed in toilets throughout the YHA hostel network, each year saving up to 12,000 litres of water per toilet! We have also installed low-flow showerheads in most of our YHA-managed hostels and our guests have continued to have fantastic showers!


Sustainoman represents the commitment to sustainability that we have at YHA New Zealand and he is a character that you will see on posters and signs around our hostels, on our membership kits and in our marketing materials reminding you to reuse, recycle, conserve and protect our planet. Sustainoman knows a lot about how to be sustainable and he’s keen to share his knowledge with all. For more specific information check out some easy and fun tips for what YOU can do to be a more environmentally friendly backpacker.