Choosing a Green Hotel
There are a number of Web sites that list environmentally friendly hotels, B&B's and lodges around the world; these are a good place to start. Keep in mind that each site has its own guidelines for rating properties, so you'll want to do your homework to make sure that the hotel meets the standards you're looking for.
A few questions to ask before booking your hotel: Is the hotel locally owned and operated? If not, is it at least staffed by local employees? What kind of recycling programs does the hotel have (aluminum, plastic, paper, gray water, composting)? Do guests have the option to reuse towels and sheets instead of having them changed every day? What programs does the hotel have to reduce consumption? Examples include energy-efficient lighting, low-flow toilets and showers, and alternative energy sources like solar or wind power. How does the hotel contribute to the local community?
During Your Stay
- Even if you're not spending the night in an ecolodge or green hotel, there are still several easy steps you can take to make your stay more eco-friendly.
- Keep your showers short, and shut off the water while you're brushing your teeth. When you leave the room, turn off the air conditioning, heat, television, lights or any other electric devices. - Reuse your sheets and towels instead of having them changed every day. Many hotels will not replace your towels if you leave them hanging up neatly; if you're not sure, write a note for the housekeeping staff or notify the front desk.
- Bring your own toiletries and drinking cup rather than using the prepackaged ones provided. If you do use the hotel's toiletries, take them with you and use them at home or during the rest of your trip.
- Know your hotel's recycling program and sort your trash accordingly. If your hotel doesn't recycle, consider taking your empty bottles or other items home with you to recycle them there. - Give your hotel feedback.
- Express your appreciation for any eco-friendly programs it currently offers -- or if it doesn't, encourage the management to go green in the future.