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Shawn Seipler and Paul Till are not hoteliers but they have just launched an organization that could do more good for humanity than just about anything any of us will ever do. Allow me to explain. Shawn, who travels a lot for his sales job, frequently stays in hotels. He began to wonder what happened to the unused bars of soap and shampoo bottles left behind after his visits. Shawn, who is based in Orlando, Fla., called his friend Paul in Houston and they decided to do a survey. Together they called about 30 properties and representatives of those hotels all told the two that they just throw the unused items away.
What to do with used vegetable oil is not at the top of my worry list. I don’t fry much of anything—and that is probably for good health reasons. What I have in my home amounts to a small container in the refrigerator—leftovers from some beignet making (thank you New Orleans). Most food service establishments, however, have to deal with large volumes of used fryer oil. In writing an article on fryer oil recycling this past week, I learned a little bit about all of the different ways inns, hotels and resorts are handling their vegetable oil “waste.”
Three states have added or soon will add green lodging certification programs. The Department of Environmental Protection in Connecticut and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism just launched its program. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is expected to roll out its program as early as the end of June. As reported here on Green Lodging News more than a week ago, the South Carolina Hospitality Association, in partnership with the Division of Waste Management of that state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, is hammering out the final details of its green hotel and restaurant program. That self-certification program is expected to launch in July.
“In 15 years I will own the system free and clear. That is when I will really rake in the cash. Long term, it will be just fantastic.” I recently spoke with Mike Freed, managing partner of the Big Sur, Calif.-based Post Ranch Inn, and those were his words when describing his property’s recently launched 990-panel solar installation. When chatting with Mike, I wondered how many property owners would be patient enough to wait that long to enjoy all of the benefits of their investment. Not many, I suspect.
This past week I attended the Hospitality Design Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, including Green Day, which prefaced the main event. Attendance was down by more than 50 percent for Green Day, when compared to last year. One Hospitality Design representative told me attendance for the Expo & Conference, including exhibitors, was comparable to 2008.
Towels have a huge impact on the environmental footprint of our industry. It is difficult to imagine how many towels are purchased and thrown away each year. The number has got to be many millions. Most towels currently used are made from 100 percent cotton or some type of cotton/polyester blend. Polyester, of course, is a petroleum-based product.
If you knew a vegetable or piece of fruit was covered in pesticides, would you eat it? Serve it to your guests? Of course not. But really, how do you know whether or not what you are serving to your guests is more likely or less likely to carry pesticides than other types of produce? If you purchase vegetables and fruit from farmers who grow organic produce, you have good reason to feel safe, but what if you don’t buy organic?
TripAdvisor just released the results of its recent environmentally-friendly travel survey of more than 1,200 U.S. respondents. For anyone running and marketing a green establishment, the survey includes some results worth noting, including this alarming finding: Seventy-two percent of travelers think hotels are more interested in marketing themselves as environmentally-friendly than actually being green (72 percent!), while just 10 percent think hotels are genuinely interested in being environmentally-friendly. Yikes!
This week will be an exciting one for the global hospitality industry. The reason? Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22, and lodging organizations around the planet will participate in thousands of different ways. Employees of 29 Joie de Vivre hotels in northern California will leave their single occupancy cars at home and commute to work by foot, bike, share ride or public transportation. Guests who stop by any Sofitel Luxury Hotel property in North America can enjoy a 30-minute lunch made entirely from ingredients grown organically.
When China’s Mayland Group invited architect Narendra Patel to offer his opinion on the company’s design for the Mayland Seaside Hotel project in Guangzhou, he asked them if they really wanted to hear what he thought. He told them the project was not something he would do, but if they were looking for a hotel that would truly become a landmark along the Zhujiang River, he would be happy to come up with a concept.
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