The front of Shangri-La Sydney’s new wooden room keys.

RFID-enabled room key cards made entirely from wood will soon be deployed at Shangri-La Sydney as the hotel takes steps to reduce its environmental footprint via the phase-out of plastic alternatives.

Joining a growing trend among Australian hotels to introduce new sustainable practices, the initiative aims to curb the flow of departing guests inadvertently failing to return their room keys only to discard them later. Shangri-La Sydney loses more than 1,000 plastic room key cards per week in this way.

The wooden cards are operationally identical to the plastic alternatives and contain both the RFID chip and magnetic stripe along with signature panel, scratch-off panel and bar code needed to activate door locks.

The hotel has ordered 10,000 wooden key cards from US supplier LVE Vision as part of a two-month trial. The move builds on the hotel’s implementation earlier this year of a fully paperless check-in and check-out process – a move which cut 36,000 sheets of paper per month from the hotel’s operations.

Shangri-La Sydney is currently the pilot hotel undertaking the program, with a successful conversion likely to see the remainder of the group’s properties in Australia, the South Pacific and Asia follow suit.