I was recently out of town to see my sister graduate from Air Force boot camp and I stayed in a hotel for a few days. Since I’ve recently gotten really into reducing waste, I saw this hotel through new eyes. Now, I don’t generally stay at super fancy hotels and opt for average, decent ones, so this may not be the case for a 5 star hotel. But I think it is fairly common among average hotels….so much waste.
Half used little bottles of shampoo left behind and thrown away.
Even if the little bottles of toiletries are used up, they only last a few days and there is no place to recycle them.
Trash bags replaced daily, no matter how full the garbage is
Lights left on and temperature not really controlled (people seem to not care as much when it’s not their electric or gas bill)
Increase in laundry for towels and linens. (Even though my hotel had one of those tags that said they won’t wash it unless you leave a towel on the ground…they still did.) So we’re talking about extra water and energy for a towel that was used once.
Daily cleaning (the products and energy used). Don’t get me wrong, I like a clean room, but I don’t usually make a big mess. Cleaning every day isn’t often necessary.
Paper key card holders (and do they reuse the plastic key cards? I hope so!)
Individually wrapped soap, utensils, cups, coffee packets and more.
Disposable cups and utensils in the room and disposable everything at the continental breakfast
No recycling for all the little toiletries or the cans, bottles, etc guests bring back.
What can you do?
For me it’s about finding balance. I try to be mindful of lights, temperature, and water use. I usually bring my own shampoo and try to decline the disposable items. I hang my towels up so they don’t wash them every day. I could do more…like carry around recyclables until I get to a recycling bin, but when you’re on vacation you never know where you’ll find a bin! And I try to balance my environmentalism with still enjoying a simple life, which doesn’t involve carrying recyclables around on vacation. Hopefully I make up for it in other areas of my life.
Side note: My hotel did have a built-in low-flow sink faucet…that thing was so messed up the water barely trickled out. Took 10 minutes to rinse soap off my hands or fill a cup of water!
Just some musings and observations…