You = Greener At Hotels

[trip style = any]

Green: environmental friendliness through the efficient use of energy, water and materials

Hotels, resorts and cruise ships know they are putting a huge strain on natural resources, but it takes two to tango. Looking inward, we are the ones traveling, so how can WE be green at hotels?

At home, many of us keep the environment in mind turning lights off, using natural heating/cooling {when we can} and limiting water use, yet when we're staying at hotels we quickly forget our regular energy-saving techniques in lieu of vacation. Why should a holiday put more strain on Mother Earth?

A few weeks ago, I caught myself unknowingly doing the I'm-on-vacation-so-why-should-I-care-about-the-earth-thing when leaving my room at the Metropolitan Hotel in Vancouver. As I was closing the door, I realized I'd left every single light on, so I quickly ran in and turned off all the switches. I know this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but if everyone is wasting a little {plus taking 20-minute showers and requesting new linens daily}, every action adds up a lot.

Because we can't all stay at zero-waste retreats all the time, here's a few VERY SIMPLE techniques for being your own ecotourist at hotels:

  • Let housekeeping know that you don't need them to replace your sheets and towels every day; this will reduce energy AND water usage. Simple solution: don't leave towels on the ground {indicating they need to be changed}, or opt out of daily housekeeping.
  • Turn off the lights, air conditioner/heater and the electronics in your room while you're out. Even when I'm in tropics I turn off the a/c when I'm gone, opening windows and doors when I return.
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, and take a shorter showers.
  • BYO toiletries, or if you use what the hotel provides, make sure to take what's leftover home. Think how many little soaps are being thrown out, and the millions of petite plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles created. Plus, hotels always give you two soaps, so who needs two soaps and a shower gel???
  • If the hotel doesn't have a recycling program, try to find a bin close by for take-out containers and water bottles.
  • Take advantage of free bicycle programs.

Do you use other green techniques at hotels?

[images sourced online]