It’s not just at home that we can reduce our trash, it’s on the road, too. One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re staying green when traveling is to opt for a hotel that has a commitment to the earth. That may mean a boutique hotel like the Aspira Spa in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin where they serve home grown (hotel grown?) vegetables and are starting a composting program next year, or a larger resort hotel like the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Arizona (shown above) where a spike in garbage triggered a trash audit to identify and fix the problems.
Think these programs don’t make a difference? Consider the Sheraton San Diego, the largest green hotel in Southern California. It has set an internal goal of being zero-waste hotel and began with a food waste recycling program with food scraps going to the City of San Diego’s Greenery to be turned into compost. In just two months—two months!—of implementing the zero waste and recycling efforts, the hotel reached 80 percent waste diversion, up from 15 percent earlier that year.
And don’t worry that these waste reduction efforts will have an affect on your stay; most of them, like cloth towels in the public bathroom or glass cups instead of plastic, you won’t even notice.
How can you find out if your hotel is green friendly? I don’t know of a database of eco-friendly hotels, but you can check to see if it’s LEED certified, check on the hotel’s website to see if it lists eco-friendly practices or has won awards or simply ask when you call to book a room.