Our Sustainability Policy
Northwest Portland International Hostel recognizes the importance of an ongoing commitment to environmental, socio-cultural, and economic responsibility.
Since we opened in 1998, we have implemented policies and procedures that address waste reduction, reuse of goods, recycling, wastewater management, environmentally sensitive purchasing, energy efficiency, and other issues that affect the resources of our planet.
We make every effort to encourage recycling at our facilities and to prevent waste from reaching the landfills. We provide blue recycling bins in each dorm and in the self-service kitchens. The bins are clearly labeled to make recycling an easy task for everyone. We also provide educational displays to increase the awareness of recycling. Our staff is well trained in sorting recyclables from non-recyclables to make sure the recycling program is successful.
We use low flow faucets, shower heads, and toilets to reduce water usage. Since our guests don’t expect laundry service each day when staying on, and often bring their own linen and towels, we cut down on washer and dryer use, and water and detergent. We are committed to use environmentally sensitive cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, and dish soap, and low energy lights where practical. We provide post-consumer recycled toilet paper and pay attention to minimize paper usage in our daily operations, for example, we use both sides of paper.
Only 20% of our guests arrive driving a car and we encourage all our guests to use public transportation when staying with us. Upon check-in, each guests gets a brief explanation on Portland’s great public transportation system (trains are free in the downtown area!) and we provide maps and schedules for the major bus, light rail, and streetcar lines. If you need a car, please consider using a car-sharing service. Zipcar offers a discount to our guests.
Northwest Portland International Hostel is part of the worldwide Hostelling International network with the mission to “help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling.” We are working hard to create a world where intercultural dialogue and responsible travel are part of every individual’s experience.
We provide a safe, clean, and affordable environment with common areas designed for travelers to interact, so they can get to know each other, have fun times together, and learn about other cultures. Beyond that, we are dedicated to offer activities that encourage interaction. For example, every First Thursday we lead hostellers on a walking tour through the free Art Gallery Openings in the Pearl District to expose our international guests or travelers from other parts of the USA to our local community. We also celebrate American and International holidays at the hostel. For example, on Thanksgiving we prepare turkeys and ask each guest to prepare a side dish. And lastly, we offer educational programs for travel preparedness and cultural sensitivity to Girl Scouts, high school students, and adults.
Since 1998, we have supported the summer concerts in our two neighborhood parks financially, and through representation on the Portland Parks & Recreation Committee that helps organize the concerts. Each summer around 250-900 neighbors enjoy each of the six free concerts and children activities that foster a safer neighborhood and an appreciation for the arts.
Our staff participates in the local neighborhood clean-ups, and also gets their hands dirty when pulling English Ivy in nearby Forest Park on No Ivy Day in May. We assist visiting high school groups in scheduling English Ivy Pulling Parties, and always invite hostellers to join our efforts to keep our neighborhood clean and reduce the adverse consequences from invasive English Ivy in our ecosystem!
Over 30,000 travelers stay with us every year. They save money on lodging when staying with us, however, surveys show that they spend around $70 daily outside of lodging, supporting restaurants, shops, and attractions in our community. Our staff is well trained to provide information on locally owned restaurants and businesses to encourage patronage. We provide a folder with menus of restaurants within walking distance. Our local events display boards are updated three times per week to provide the most accurate information on things to see and do in Portland.
Watch a video on sustainable practices at both Portland Hostelling International Hostels!