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Sustainability in hostels

We've been building sustainable actions into our hostel operations for over 25 years. Reducing our impact and encouraging responsible.

Reducing Energy Consumption

We're using both big and small investments in our hostels to reduce energy consumption across our hostel network.

Renewable Energy

So far,five of our thirteen YHA-managed hostels are using renewable energy sources. We’ve installed solar energy including photovoltaic panels and efficient hot water systems in Franz Josef, Wellington, Aoraki Mt Cook, and Lake Tekapo. YHA Rotorua harnesses geothermal energy to power the hostel's hot water system.   Learn more

The Small Things

It's not just the big things that make a difference, but many small changes add up! We've replaced light bulbs with energy efficient LED's and added movement sensor lights in hallways. Heat loss has been reduced through insulating as much as we can, including hot water cylinders, ceilings and walls, double glazed windows and re-clad buildings. Our hot water is heated using highly efficient califonts, heat pumps and even heat exchange systems on shower drains to warm incoming cold water! Phew!

Responsible Water Use

We know our clean water is precious and we want to protect this valuable resource. We installed Clever Flush water saving devices in toilets throughout the YHA hostel network, which save up to 12,000 litres of water per toilet each year! Taps and shower heads are fitted with aerators and flow restrictors in most of our YHA-managed hostels. The aerators mix air and water before it comes out of the tap which maintains pressure but reduces the amount of water used. Good for the environment and our guests have continue to have fantastic showers!

Many of our hostels now have the latest Speed Queen cashless front loading laundry machines which save 70 litres of water per wash compared to top loading machines!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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. We also have fluorescent tube recycling, battery recycling, used clothing collection, reuse of courier bags, and now our membership cards have gone digital! At many locations we also have the ability to collect food waste for local farms or compost facilities. 

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.

Sustainable Sources

Wherever we can, we source goods and services that are sustainably produced from suppliers who are committed to sustainability principles. From copy paper to cleaning products to energy providers  sustainability is considered in decision making at every level. 


Supporting Low Carbon

EV Chargers

Our most remote hostels are now more accessible to those in more environmentally friendly vehicles! In 2019 we partnered with Meridian Energy, using an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority grant, to install EV chargers at YHA Franz Josef, YHA Aoraki Mt Cook, and YHA Te Anau.

Community Projects

All our YHA-managed hostels have incorporated a community project as part of their annual business plans. At least one day a year is spent on community projects and many of our hostels do a lot more. Read more

Clean Up NZ Week

The international "Clean Up the World" campaign involves 40 million people and takes the form of an annual Clean Up Week in New Zealand each September. Each year a number of our hostels participate in this activity in their local community.

You Can Help!

Travel Responsibly

We're doing our part to reuse, recycle, conserve and protect our planet. For more specific information on what you can do check out some easy and fun tips on how to be a more environmentally friendly and responsible traveller. Get tips


Green Footprint Project

With the increase of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions through increased travel and energy usage, the Green Footprint Project helps travellers reduce some of the impacts they are making on their travels. We provide an opportunity for guests to give back by purchasing a native shrub or tree at any hostel to help offset the impact of their travel on the environment. FIND OUT MORE


Franz Josef solar installation Donate

Green Footprint Project


YHA Christchurch staff member planting a native shrub Read more

Toitū carbonzero Certified

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YHA team member enjoys tree planting on planting day Read tips

How you can help

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