Monday, January 14, 2008

#157 - Do Not Disturb

Saving The Environment While Traveling

Depending on where you travel, you may find yourself in a "green" hotel that has CFL lightbulbs, recycling bins in every room and organic snacks in the mini-bar. Or you may be staying in a dump down by the interstate with a suspicious looking stain on the carpet and a double deadbolt-and-chain combo lock on the door.

OK, perhaps your budget plays in to that scenario somewhere as well. At any rate, you don't want to blow the whole environmental thing just because you're away from home, so here's some tips I've found that help me to stay green whenever I go away...

Tip #1 - Reuse your towels, washcloths, sheets, etc. In fact, go a step further and place the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your doorknob for your entire stay. Not only will these prevent the wasted energy required to clean your room daily, but you'll also get interesting looks from the cleaning staff when you do finally emerge.

Tip #2 - Bring your own toiletries. I know it sounds like a pain, but those itty-bitty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion require a LOT more packaging than your big ol' bottle of Burt's Bees. Plus, who knows what kind of scary petro-crap is in those overly-fragranced bottles of goo?

Tip #3 - Don't drink the water. Seriously, there's nothing worse than finding one of those "please help us save the planet by reusing your towel" cards right next to a couple bottles of complimentary Aquafinas. Kind of sends a mixed message, don'tcha think? Don't drink the bottled water -- send them back to the front desk and drink from the tap instead.

Tip #4 - Use the fine china. If your hotel room has those cheap, disposable plastic cups (or worse yet, those plastic cups that are hermetically sealed in more plastic), then call the front desk and ask for a couple of REAL CUPS to use while you're there. Be sure to tell them WHY you want them.

Tip #5 - Keep 'em separated. If your room doesn't have a separate waste can for recyclables, ask the hotel manager where you could find one. You might have to bring them down front to have them recycled. Or you might even have to bring them home with you. That's the price to pay for environmentalism. Deal with it.

Tip #6 - Tell it like it is. When you checkout and they ask you how your stay was. Be honest. Tell them what you liked and what you didn't like. If possible, speak to the manager about the environmental concerns you have regarding his/her establishment. The only reason they would have to change is to keep wonderful customers like you from going somewhere else.

Hope these tips help you out. If you have any other enviro-hotel suggestions, please leave them in the comments so we can all get a little greener on the road. But not in a carsick kind of way.


leslie said...

This is a fabulous post!
The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
I am always pleasantly surprised by the genuine attention paid to serious requests.
Any hotel owner should be thrilled to get direct information from their specific demographic!
How are they going to know how to "better serve you?" if we don't tell them??
Yaaaa Burbanmom!

Anonymous said...

When we stayed in a hotel in Anaheim last summer, I dutifully put Michael's newspapers into a separate bag to be recycled. And the maid threw it out! So I ended up stashing all the recycling in my suitcase and "packing it out" as they say in How To Sh*t In The Woods.

Anonymous said...

You may want to think twice about using a hotel's glasses - check this out You may just want to bring your own.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know. I'm not that worried about germs. It's a good warning to people to wash out any cups and utensils before using them. But I'd be more worried that this video is going to scare hotels into using disposable plastic cups instead of glasses.

I think if we all just use some common sense and wash things with hot water and soap before using them, we'll be okay.