When you travel and stay at a hotel, do you have housekeeping come each day? When you leave the room, do you shut of the television and the lights? When we went to Chicago, I thought about this. While we were at the hotel, there was a gymnastics event-taking place and the hotel was flooded with children and families. I witnessed a lot of waste at the breakfast buffet and it had me thinking about the waste in the rooms.
The wasted energy from every light and television left on.
The wasted energy and water from linens and towels being washed each day, instead of hanging the towels up and reusing them. In addition, who washes their bed sheets every day, is that necessary during a weekend stay at a hotel?
Add up all of the hotels in the United States and this makes for a huge carbon footprint. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that hotels use approximately 15% of the total water use in commercial and industrial facilities in the U.S. WOW! Think about that for a second. Hospitals, schools, offices and government building are included in this list and hotels make up the majority of the water usage, 15% out of the total 17% used by commercial and industrial facilities.
Of course, hotels need to use water and have electricity and we as patrons want to stay in clean, warm and well-lit environments, however, it means something when a hotel cares about not adding to the large carbon footprint and doing something about saving energy and water. Not only are they saving dollars and cents, which can reduce the fees they charge us and be used to improve their facilities and amenities…they are caring about the environment.
An interesting article from National Geographic covered this topic and did you know if we as hotel patrons skipped the unnecessary towel washes and sheet washing daily, hotels could cut their water, sewer, energy and labor costs by roughly 17%?
Green Your Next Hotel Stay
So next time you take a vacation, think about shutting those lights off and reusing your towels. Do not just ignore those little tags hanging in the bathroom asking you to be considerate. These are just a few little things you can do but if you’re like me, you notice the waste, and you care about the environment, here are some tips for making your next hotel stay a little greener.
- Skip the daily housekeeping because how dirty did the bathroom and the sheets really get? Do they need to run the vacuum, is that necessary? Instead, call housekeeping for something if needed.. For me, I like to skip housekeeping because I don’t like people in and out of my room, it’s a security thing for me but it so happens to be eco-friendly too.
- Consider choosing hotels that make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Michigan has some green lodging practices and if I’m in Michigan I can easily use their map on Google to locate a Green Lodging partner in Michigan. Not every state has this but each hotel has a website and it’s easy to quickly find out what their sustainability policy is. You can also check out the Green Hotels Association for suggestions.
- Bring your own toiletries or if you use their toiletries, take what you do not use home. Why let them go to waste, they can’t be reused.
- Utilize the recycling bins in the hotel lobbies and rooms. If you use a plastic cup, put it in the recycle bin. I too often see people being careless because they’re on vacation. It’s not hard to recycle.
- Don’t waste food. This bothers me when hotels have buffets. I see families let their children fill their plates to the rim and then the child eats just cheerios. Only take what you will eat.
- Turn off the hotel air conditioning. It takes a lot of energy to run the air conditioner continually. Unless it is very hot, turn the air conditioner off or down to a reasonable temperature.
What tips do you have for greening your travel? I’m traveling a lot for work and I’m always on the lookout for tips to make my trips a little more eco-friendly. I’m not perfect but at least I can try to be a little greenER and choose hotels that make an effort too!
Photo Credit: Photos purchased from Depositphotos.com
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