Reducing Hotel Waste
I do a whole lot of traveling around and it means that I generate a lot of extra waste that I wouldn’t if I had a local job (unless I drove 45+ minutes a day to work). The bulk of this comes from flying and staying in hotels. There’s not a lot I can do about the flying part, but here’s what I’ve been doing to try to cut down on the amount of waste I’m producing by staying in hotels:
1. No Service. Put the little card on your door that says you don’t want to have anybody come in and clean. You can reiterate this at the front desk and ask that they don’t deliver the newspaper or leave clean towels at your door. I usually don’t have time to read the paper and I’ve always got towels and things that are clean.
2. Only Use One Can. I usually just use the trash can in the bathroom. This can save some bags, important if you don’t want to use the rule above. Or maybe I’m just being too cheap. I’m not sure.
3. Turn Off The Thermostat. Most of the time I find that I can safely turn off the A/C or heater in the room. The area next to you is going to be thermoregulated (you like the word I made up?) on at least three and usually five of your six sides. I don’t typically have a problem unless I’m in Florida. Usually in the winter and/or in the cold areas this isn’t even an issue. Everybody is blasting their heater and you get the benefit. Not that it costs you anything but still….
4. Use Your Own Soap. Those little bitty bottles are great if you want to feel like a giant, but it creates a lot of waste if you’re constantly using only a couple of days’ worth of shampoo and conditioner and soap. I usually get the mini bottles at the drug store and then refill them when they get close to empty. Also, different soaps and shampoos use different ingredients to clean you. Some will pull more or less or just different oils off of you and leave traces of different things on you. I have found that my hair and skin don’t get nearly as dried out when I stick to the same brand.
If you run a hotel or if you just want to make suggestions to someone who does, here are a couple of things that really bug me:
1. Energy Efficient Lighting. Begin using energy efficient bulbs the next time you have to replace one. It’s cheaper that way than doing them all at once and will probably save you money within a year. And inside of two years you’ll probably see a difference just in the cost of light bulbs.
2. Follow The Rules. Make sure your housekeepers are sticking to the “floor=change rack=leave” policy. Some hotels say they do but they don’t. Also, don’t replace the bath mat. It’s on the floor because it’s supposed to be.
3. Don’t Half-Ass It. I’ve been in several hotels where they claim to care about the environment but all the things they mention are things they want the guests to do, while not contributing themselves. Or they contradict themselves. For example, they ask me to conserve water and power. But they have incandescent bulbs and run the TV when nobody’s watching it. Or maybe they’ve got a nice water fountain out front of the hotel in a place where there’s year-round 80 degree days with 5 percent humidity. That makes the guests not care.