Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable While Staying in a Hotel

My husband and I got away for the weekend. Just the two of us. We went to DC. I had been hoping to stay at Hotel Madera which is eco-friendly, doesn't charge a parking fee for hybrids, and serves free fair trade coffee each morning, but I waited too long to make the reservations and couldn't get a room. We ended up staying at a regular hotel. So how to do you make a regular hotel stay a little more sustainable? Here are ten easy ways:
  1. Bring your own travel coffee mugs. Some hotels offer in-room coffee makers, but you can't take the coffee mugs out of the room. Other hotels offer coffee in the lobby, but they have disposable coffee cups. If you have your own travel mugs, you can take advantage of the in-room coffee on the go and stay away from the disposables.
  2. Find out what the hotel's recycling policy on bottles is. If they don't have one, consider lugging your bottles home with your if it's convenient.
  3. If you use one of their complimentary products - like their hand cream or shampoo, take the rest of the bottle home with you and use it up. If you leave the open bottle, it will need to be thrown away. 
  4. Don't take what you didn't use. Sure, hotels factor in the cost of the shampoos, paper, pens and other complimentary items, but if you don't need them, don't take them just because you can. 
  5. If the hotel gives you the option of using your towels or other linens for more than one night, take the option.
  6. Turn the lights out when you leave the room.
  7. Unplug just like you would at home - unplug chargers for cell phones or mp3 players or other items. 
  8. If you're going to be gone from your room for a long period of time, adjust the thermostat if you're capable of doing so to save energy.
  9. You know those little shelves filled with brochures of local attractions in many lobbies? Only take what you really think you are going to use. And, if possible, return unused ones to the shelves.
  10. When you're done your stay, let the hotel management know that you noticed their efforts to be green and thank them, or politely suggest that one or two things that they could change, green-wise, that would make you more likely to stay with them again.
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