Home Air Quality Consider the Environmental, Human Impact of Your COVID-19 Response

Consider the Environmental, Human Impact of Your COVID-19 Response

Glenn Hasek

Here is a challenge for all of you: Given the current pandemic, still try your hardest to do things in a sustainable manner—focusing on worker and guest safety, energy and water conservation, waste reduction, and enhancing, not worsening indoor air quality. With each step you take to stop COVID-19, ask yourself if you are helping or hindering environmental protection. I know it will not be an easy thing to do, or even accomplishable in some cases, given the severity of the virus.

This past week I heard from Allied Feather + Down. The maker of bedding is now manufacturing reusable cotton face masks and already has shipped millions of them—many to hotels and resorts. The emphasis is on the word “reusable.”

“This widespread use of disposable masks comes with a heavy impact on the environment,” the company said in its press release. “Unfortunately, disposable masks are not sustainable at this scale, and the environmental nightmare this has the potential to become has not fallen on deaf ears. Already in Hong Kong, discarded masks are washing up on beaches and posing a threat to marine life.” On a recent bike ride, I saw something light blue on the side of the path—a face mask. I have also read about plastic gloves waste becoming a problem.

“While we understand the critical need to use face masks, we fear disposable masks are already becoming the new cigarette butt,” said Steve Uretsky, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Allied Feather + Down. Point taken.

More Plastic Waste to Consider

In your rush to use hand sanitizer, be mindful of the plastic waste caused by the plastic bottles. Yes, they are necessary in many cases but making sanitizer available from dispensers throughout your property is a much better solution.

Think about the other ways the pandemic has resulted in the creation of additional waste to landfill. Is your new approach to breakfast causing more waste? With fewer guests staying at your property, your overall waste stream has got to be less but still be mindful of the problem.

Disinfecting & Its Challenges

One of my faithful readers brought the use of disinfectant to my attention this past week. Use it wisely and with proper training. Keep indoor air quality in mind and prioritize natural solutions and technologies—many of which have been written about on Green Lodging News. I have already read hotel reviews about hotels smelling too much like Lysol. Give your staff the proper gear to dispense disinfectants, if using more toxic liquids and sprays. Understand the long-term impacts of using it on the materials in your hotel, and on the employees, who dispense it. Be mindful of the millions of travelers who have chemical sensitivities. Imagine their travel challenges during this difficult time.

Continue to seek out and implement products, processes and technologies that are “no brainers” when it comes to reducing costs and environmental impact—low-flow fixtures, LED lighting, guestroom energy management systems, etc. Now, more than ever, you need to reduce operational costs.

How has COVID-19 impacted your sustainability strategy? I would love to know. I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Green Lodging News Welcomes Minibar Systems Worldwide to Product Directory

Green Lodging News welcome Minibar Systems Worldwide to its Green Product & Service Directory in the “Hand Sanitizer” category. microSURE persistent nano-technology germ killing products go to war on 99.99 percent of harmful microorganisms. When applied, a barrier of crystal killing spikes bonds to hands and surfaces creating a lasting barrier that stays working long after it is applied—for eight hours or more. As germs come into contact with surfaces they are punctured by the killing spikes on contact and die. This results in a mechanical kill—allowing the surface of an object to destroy the cell walls. This is different than a chemical kill which uses chemicals that provide no lasting protection after it dries. SmartHands 8-Hour Defense Hand Sanitizer is available in 2oz bottles, in up to one gallon sizes, and in one liter bags for the company’s SmartHands automatic sanitizer dispenser. Call Walt Strasser at (301) 354-5055 or e-mail walt.strasser@minibarna.com.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Get in the Green Suppliers Spotlight!

Green Lodging News, lodging’s leading environmental news source, publishes Green Suppliers Spotlight, an e-blast to 20,144 subscribers that features the lodging industry’s leading green products and services. The e-blast features multiple vendors—unlike the current Green Supplier Spotlight that allows one supplier to “own” the Green Lodging News subscriber list for one e-blast. (Click here for a Green Suppliers Spotlight sample.)

Green Suppliers Spotlight is published weekly on Thursdays to general managers, owners, management companies, directors of sustainability, directors of engineering, facilities managers and many others who are either in purchasing positions or who influence purchasing decisions. Suppliers of green products and services throughout North America and beyond are invited to participate in the e-blast. (Minimum two suppliers per e-blast.) Green Suppliers Spotlight was created to give vendors an opportunity to reach a high number of industry purchasers at a very low cost—as low as $200 per e-mail. (Click here for rate sheet.)

Those advertising in Green Suppliers Spotlight can include up to 100 words, one image, contact information and multiple links to their website in their ad. At the end of each month, a report will be sent to each supplier with information on delivered e-mails, opens and click-throughs.

Planning Advertising for 2020?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2020. Many excellent spots are available on our new website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2020 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

Newsletter & Green Supplier Spotlight Circulation

The circulation of our weekly e-newsletter and Green Supplier Spotlight currently stands at 20,144. Thank you to our new subscribers for signing up. Be sure to encourage your colleagues to do the same. There are “subscribe” links on the Green Lodging News home page. You may also e-mail greenlodgingnews@gmail.com to be added to our list.

Green Lodging News & Social Media

Green Lodging News now has 1,801 Twitter followers. Thank you to all of those who follow our tweets. In addition to following us on Twitter, be sure to bookmark the Green Lodging News Blog in your browser. More importantly, participate with your comments. Green Lodging News is also on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” us there. Green Lodging News now has 985 Facebook likes.

As always, I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.