Order water at any restaurant in Kathmandu, and chances are that you will be served water in a plastic bottle. At Kantipur Temple House the waiter will graciously hand you a metal flask. No plastic, no non-degradable waste.
"Our aim, among other things, is to minimise plastic usage in the hotel," says Subechhya Basnet of Kantipur Temple House. The guests are discouraged to use mineral water bottles and plastic bags. Instead, the hotel lends them reusable water bottles and cloth shopping bags free of cost. Basnet says her hotel has saved 8,000 mineral water bottles from ending up in landfill sites last year alone.
Built in the Newari architectural style, Kantipur Temple House has been committed to heritage and environment conservation since it opened in 1998. Even though it is a four-storied building, the owners decided against installing an elevator. And as most guests are trekkers, they don't complain about it. Kantipur Temple House doesn't have power-hungry ACs either.
The greenery of the hotel's garden is a rare sight in the built-up Thamel area. The hotel uses compost it makes from kitchen waste in the garden. "We incubate the waste for about a week to 10 days to turn it into compost," explain Sri Krishna Gajurel, the hotel's chef who works with his staff to inculcate eco-friendly values. All items in the menu have organic ingredients.
Like other hotels, Kantipur doesn't change guest bed sheets and towels every day unless requested. Buckets are placed in all bathrooms to save cold water that flows before the water turns warm. This water is then used for cleaning.
The hotel uses solar thermal for heating water and will soon be installing photovoltaic power wired through the rooms. The hotel tries to cultivate eco-friendly behavior among its guests by placing placards with tips in the lobby and in rooms.
Its guest book reflects appreciation for its commitment to the environment. Basnet says, "We are trying to promote responsible tourism and our guests have come back because they value what we do."
Fuming about fumes, RABI THAPA