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NATIONAL REPORT—Much has been written about the many millions of partially used bars of soap and amenity bottles disposed of each year. Thanks to Clean the World and other nonprofits, a sizable amount of that waste is now being repurposed. But what about k cups, those little single-serve beverage (mostly coffee) pods used in Keurig Green Mountain brewers? According to research by data firm NPD Group, 40 percent of Canadian homes have a single-serving coffee brewer. In the United States that number is closer to 30 percent. An estimated 20+ billion k cups will be consumed in 2015. Many of those will reach the landfill by way of a hotel guestroom, lobby or breakfast area. With such a steady flow of waste to the landfill—it is not only the cups but their contents, filters and lids as well—what can an hotelier do to address it? One step one can take is to explore alternatives to the non-recyclable polystyrene cups. Waterbury, Vermont-based Keurig says on its website that it has committed to making 100 percent of its K-Cup packs recyclable by 2020.
DETROIT—Thom Connors, SMG Regional Vice President and General Manager of Cobo Center, announced that Cobo Center has received the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) certification, by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC), a nonprofit, membership-based professional organization, and spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which provides educational resources to planners, suppliers, and venues seeking to meet the ever-rising standards consumers set for sustainable meetings.
TAMPA, FLA.—Go Green Planters, Inc. (GGP), a family operated nursery stock dealer, is collaborating with K9s for Warriors. The company is calling the program Plants for K9s. On behalf of K9s for Warriors, a leading nonprofit organization that rescues dogs to train them to be service dogs for veterans battling the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, GGP provides a lush tropical plant for each guestroom at no cost to the hotel. In consideration of this new amenity, guests are asked to contribute $1.00 to K9s for Warriors.
NEW YORK—To mark its centennial anniversary, the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) is unveiling a new brand and mission to better capture the dynamic innovation of the hospitality industry. HX: The Hotel Experience—Rooms to Restaurants (HX), will debut November 8 to 10, 2015 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City and represents a bold new strategic direction. This multimillion-dollar investment aimed at revitalizing the largest hospitality trade event in North America is founded on the belief that true hospitality is anticipating a guest’s needs to create a memorable and unique experience. To achieve that, HX will focus on innovation, inspiration and information. “Making this enormous change at our 100-year juncture is exciting,” said Anthony G. Mangano, President Syramada Hotel Corp. (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Chairman of the Board for HX 2015. “These are not tweaks or modest improvements. HX 2015 is an entirely new show.” The deep dive transformation from IHMRS to HX called on industry experts, research-based data, and prior-year show assessments to identify what the show could and should bring to the industry.
PORTLAND, ORE.—This summer, the Oregon Convention Center will install what is anticipated to be one of the largest solar arrays on a convention center in the United States. More than 6,500 rooftop solar panels are expected to produce 25 percent of the facility’s electricity. Construction of the two megawatt project is scheduled to begin in August and the system is expected to be in service this fall. “One of our core values is sustainability,” said convention center Executive Director Scott Cruickshank. “The rooftop solar installation will help us meet our carbon emission reduction goals, offset utility costs and provide an important learning opportunity for our convention center visitors and guests.” “I want to personally thank our partners at Pacific Power Blue Sky renewable energy program and Energy Trust of Oregon for supporting this installation,” Cruickshank added. “Their financial support made it possible to expand the original project scope of 1.1 MW to 2.0 MW, with no upfront costs borne by the facility or the taxpayers.”
AMSTERDAM—More than half (52 percent) of all global travelers report that they are likely to choose a destination based on its social or environmental impact in 2015. Findings from a survey of 32,000 travelers across 16 countries by Booking.com reveal that attitudes towards sustainable travel are evolving. While only 10 percent of respondents took a traditional sustainable trip in 2014 (defined as an eco-tour, a volunteering trip, a farm stay, a camping trip or a trip to learn about new cultures), this year will see the majority of global travelers being influenced by an intention to reduce their environmental impact, or to ensure that their tourism has a positive impact on the local community, when evaluating vacation destinations. This trend is more marked in some countries than others. Brazilian respondents were most interested in sustainable travel, with 74 percent reporting that they would be likely to base a decision on these concerns. Only 36 percent of Danish respondents said their plans would be influenced by their potential social or environmental impact.
ATLANTA—The Green Meeting Industry Council Sustainable Meetings Conference wrapped up in Atlanta last week. The annual event, which drew approximately 200 attendees, was held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Highlights included keynote speeches by Laura Turner Seydel, daughter of Ted Turner and chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, and Derreck Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project. Additional highlights included educational session discussions on topics ranging from the APEX/ASTM meeting standards to best practices at green hotels and venues. Seydel kicked off the event by addressing some of the topics she is most passionate about. Environmental education for children and air and water quality issues are two examples. She talked about the many organizations with which she is involved—the Captain Planet Foundation, Environmental Working Group, Mothers and Others for Clean Air, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Seydel serves on her family’s foundation boards including The Turner Foundation, Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, and Ted’s Montana Grill. Seydel told a number of stories about her famous father.
TRAVELERS REST, S.C.—Commercial plumbing and foodservice products manufacturer T&S Brass and Bronze Works has redesigned and expanded its website to provide more detailed product information for its customers and a more comprehensive, user-friendly experience.
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO—From fostering orphaned wildlife in the general manager’s private pool to diverting 750 pounds of raw food waste daily to a local hog farmer, Velas Vallarta is committed to environmental sustainability. So, in response to guest interest, Mexico’s Velas Vallarta has launched new complimentary tours showcasing the resort’s relationship with local ecology. “We are certified with EarthCheck and also with TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program,” said Donald Willis, Assistant Manager of Operations. “TripAdvisor developed the GreenLeaders program with help from national and international green industry experts including the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification Program and the United Nations Environment Program which is why we are so honored to have Gold Status, the second highest level of environmentally friendly practices activation.” Velas Vallarta is located on Puerto Vallarta’s Marina Vallarta beach where sea turtles nest from June to December. Volunteers come from around the world to help scientists find and protect turtle eggs, camping on the beach for weeks.
SINGAPORE—Hilton Worldwide announced that it will reduce the environmental impact of meetings and events held at more than 90 hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific through an expanded carbon emissions solution, the Clean Air Program. Starting on May 1, meeting planners and delegates can play their part in reducing carbon emissions and deliver more sustainable experiences to their customers.
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