Sustainable practices are becoming more and more common in our homes. We recycle, compost and constantly look for ways to conserve the water and energy we use daily. Traveling, whether for leisure or business, doesnít mean we have to leave these Green practices at home. If you stop to think of your hotel room as an extension of your home, itís easy to make a positive impact no matter where you are. Here are just a few sustainable tourism tips you can try that will help make a difference.
In the Guest Room
- Lighting: If youíre in the room during the day, open to the curtains to take advantage of natural light instead of turning on multiple light sources.
- Air conditioning and heating: Make sure the windows/balcony doors are closed if the air/heating system is on. Or alternatively, shut off the air or heat if you prefer to have the windows open.
- Towel & Linen Reuse Programs: Many green hotels provide guests with the option to reuse their towels and linens during their stay rather than having them changed daily. By taking advantage of these programs you help reduce the number of loads of laundry a hotel generates daily which contributes to both water and energy savings.
- Towel reuse: A sign is hung in the bathroom telling guests to hang their towels on the towel rack or shower rod if they would like to reuse them. Should fresh towels be required, guests are asked to place their used towels in the bathtub.
- Sheet reuse: A card placed on the bedside table or pillow tells guests to place the card on the pillow if they do not require fresh linens. Housekeeping staff will then simply remake the bed. Or, the card informs guests that linens will only be replaced once every two or three days (or upon check-out) unless guests request fresh sheets by placing the card on the pillow.
- Recycling: More and more Green hotels are placing recycling bins in their guest rooms and meeting rooms. Make full use of it by placing items such as newspapers, paper, plastics, cans and glass in it rather than in the garbage bin. If the hotel does not have a recycling bin in the room, inquire with housekeeping or management about their recycling policies. In some cases hotels that donít have bins in the rooms still separate the recyclables from the trash in the back-of-house area.
- Water Conservation: When brushing your teeth or washing/shaving your face shut the tap off or fill the sink to avoid leaving the water running. Keeping your showers short not only saves water but also saves energy (used to heat the water). A 10-minute shower can use up to 20 gallons/75 litres of water (low flow showerheads will use less).
Leaving the Guest Room
- Make sure you turn off all lights and electronics when you leave the room
- Turn the air conditioning/heating down or off and close the windows
- During the hot summer months, close the drapes during the day to help keep the room cool
- Make sure youíve taken advantage of the linen/towel reuse program
- Check that sink and tub faucets are tightly shut off to avoid water loss from dripping taps
While away on business or holidays, explore options other than cabs or car rentals for getting around the area. Inquire about:
- Local Transit: Consider the option of using the local transit system for getting to and from meetings or exploring the area.
- Bike Rentals: A bicycle can be a fun, fit and eco-friendly way to see the local sights.
- Shuttle Services: Some hotels offer a shuttle service to help their guests get to and from major points within the city/region.
- Carpooling: If you do need to rent a car or take a cab, try carpooling especially if travelling with coworkers.
At the End of Your Stay
Always make an effort to provide feedback to the lodging facility youíre staying with. Feedback cards are generally available in the rooms, from the front desk or through online forms on the hotelís website. Sharing your thoughts and ideas with respect to their sustainable practices will help them to know what works, what doesnít and what they may want to consider for future Green initiatives.