As we learn more about the threats to our environment, more people are embracing a ‘Green’ lifestyle. Businesses are now realizing that they also need to make changes in order to adopt a more environmentally friendly operation. One business area that is beginning to recognize the need to be more ‘green’ is the hotel industry. Many hotels are responding to consumer demands for a healthier and greener lifestyle by making their businesses more environmentally friendly.
Ways that hotels can make their business eco-friendly include:
1) Implement a towel and linens reuse program. Recycle stained tablecloths into napkins, and aprons. You can also make cloth laundry bags from old sheets.
2) Adopt a nonsmoking policy for the entire hotel.
3) Provide guestroom recycle baskets and bins for newspaper, white paper, glass products, aluminum cans, cardboard, and plastics. Provide recycling bins in public areas.
4) Use fluorescent lights instead of incandescent bulbs. Install devices that power down heating and cooling systems when guests leave the room.
5) Adopt the use of nontoxic cleaners by housekeepers. Adopt other cleaning practices such as cleaning the windows with vinegar instead of chemicals. Dispense shampoo and soap from large containers instead of disposable plastic bottles.
6) Offer guests walking maps and information on public transportation.
7) Provide bicycles to guests for sight seeing excursions
8) Use electric or battery operated lawnmowers. Use a mulcher to chop up the garden clippings to make your own mulch. Ban the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer. Use only organic products on the lawn and garden. Use ‘Gray’ water from the showers and sinks for ponds and landscaping. Compost food waste and use it as fertilizer.
9) Create an organically-grown vegetable garden for the restaurant.
10) If the hotel has a pool and/or hot tub, install a solar water heating system and use pool and hot tub covers when the pool area is closed
11) Use recycled paper and pens with soy ink. Use recycled paper products that are either unbleached or bleached using a chlorine free process. (brochures, menus, comment cards, stationary products)
12) Stock mini-bars with organic or natural snacks and beverages.
13) Install low flow toilets and shower heads.
14) Replace old washing machines with both water and energy conserving models.
15) Use daylight as a light source as much as possible. Use solar energy as a lighting and energy source. Install dimmers on light switches to save energy.
16) Sponsor environmental education programs for guests and the surrounding community.
17) Preserve the property in as much of a natural state as possible. Plant trees and flowers.
18) Earn hotel ‘Green’ Credentials. Have the hotel certified as ‘green’ by an organization such as an independent, national, and state organization that certifies eco-hotels. An example is the Washington-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an architectural and building organization.
19) Use furniture made from responsibly harvested ‘new growth’ wood such as bamboo.
20) Use low emission paints and other material
21) Stock the rooms with toilet paper and facial tissue made from recycled products.
22) Buy products and services from eco-friendly vendors.
Being green means ‘Green’ hotels are adopting environmentally friendly practices and programs that will reduce energy, water, and waste. Hotels use a tremendous amount of energy and water as well as collect a huge amount of waste. By doing their part to conserve, recycle, and reduce, they are protecting the planet as well as providing a great place for eco-friendly guests to stay.