I am currently working on an article on hydration stations. They are not water fountains but are sometimes paired with them. They make it easy to fill bottles with water and sometimes offer filtered water. Some machines even calculate the volume of plastic bottles you have filled or diverted from the landfill. The Hilton San Francisco Union Square has four of them. Zion Lodge in Springdale, Utah also has installed them. Hydration stations are an ideal way to eliminate, or at lease dramatically reduce, the volume of plastic bottle waste flowing from your property. Plastic bottle waste is a huge problem. According to an organization called Ban the Bottle, making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. That does not include the oil used for transportation. On average, an American will use a plastic bottle almost every other day but only recycle bottles about 25 percent of the time.
Americans use about 50 billion plastic bottles each year. What I am trying to get a handle on as I research for my article, is what the best practices are for hydration stations. Where in a hotel are the best places for them? Certainly a fitness center or spa works. What about in a guestroom corridor? What about other public or back-of-house areas? How does one encourage the use of hydration stations? For guests used to finding bottles of plastic water in their guestrooms, how do you get them to use reusable containers? Do you supply those containers? Do you direct guests to where they can buy them? What about for employees? Do you supply them with reusable containers? Seems to me that would make a lot of sense. What about messaging? Do you incorporate messaging about the environmental value in using hydration stations? I would love to know your thoughts. My sense is that hydration stations are still rare in our industry but they would go a very long way in helping to reduce plastic bottle waste. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.