Home Publisher's Point of View Three More Reasons to Transition Away from Plastic

Three More Reasons to Transition Away from Plastic

Glenn Hasek

Plastic has been the topic of several of my columns recently. I would like to add one more to the list for three reasons: Orbitz, Yelp, and the results of a very important study published earlier this month in Nature Geoscience.

First, Orbitz is helping travelers stay at waste-conscious hotels by listing hotels and locations on its website that are doing their part to reduce or eliminate waste—specifically single-use plastic. The website includes a clickable U.S. map that explains specifically what type of plastic has been banned by the entire state or part of the state. In Illinois, for example, part of the state has banned plastic bags. In South Carolina, part of the state has banned plastic straws. To get your property listed, write to press@orbitz.com.

Second, Yelp has launched a Green Practices Initiative to highlight restaurant sustainability and reduce plastic waste. Says Yelp, “Today, we’re launching Yelp’s Green Practices Initiative to begin surveying consumers and understanding how to better assess the sustainability of a restaurant’s practices. Given the complexity of sustainable food systems and restaurant operations, we’re focusing first on the reduction of single-use plastics in restaurants and leveraging what makes Yelp most useful: consumer feedback.

“We will begin surveying consumers and collecting data on the use of single-use plastics in restaurants across the U.S.,” Yelp says. “When you visit a restaurant’s Yelp page, you will now have the opportunity to answer whether or not the business uses compostable takeout containers, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic utensils or offers a discount for bringing your own cup or mug for beverages.”

Proof That We Breathe Plastic Particles

In the most recent edition of Nature Geoscience, published April 15, scientists report the results of a first-of-its-kind study measuring the volume of microplastics that fall from the sky and into the air we breathe. Scientists recorded a daily rate of 365 microplastic particles per square meter falling from the sky in the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France. There were no obvious sources for the plastic within 60 miles.

According to National Geographic, scientists collected microplastics over a period of five months at a meteorological station about 4,500 feet (1,400 meters) above sea level using atmospheric deposition catchers that look like tall funnels. They counted and analyzed the plastic fragments, fibers, and films at the bottom of the collectors that were less than 300 microns in size. The human hair averages between 50 and 70 microns in diameter. The smallest particle a human eye can see is about 40 microns. More than 50 percent of the microplastics found at the station were fragments less than 25 microns in size.

What is known is that microplastics smaller than 25 microns can enter the human body through the nose or mouth and those less than five microns can end up in lung tissue.

Fine particulates in the air formed by burning fossil fuels, including black carbon or soot, have been linked to a wide range of health impacts from asthma to heart attacks to impairing children’s memory and IQ. Most countries have air pollution standards to limit the volumes of particles less than 10 microns, and especially those below 2.5 microns, respectively known as PM 10 and PM 2.5 standards.

We all know about the plastic in our oceans, in our landfills and many other places. Now we know it is in the air we breathe. It is probably in some of the food we eat as well. Do you really need more reasons to reduce the amount of plastic you use in your hotel?

Green Lodging News Adds Applied Science Labs to Product & Service Directory

Green Lodging News welcomes Applied Science Labs to its Green Product & Service Directory in the Pest Management/Bed Bugs category. Applied Science Labs provides 21st Century bio-engineered solutions to provide 100 percent nontoxic bed bug elimination and prevention. Independent field trials show that bed bugs are eliminated in one treatment. The leave behind kill formula means only one treatment and bed bugs are gone and remain gone for 12 months. The formula kills bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, silverfish, millipedes, centipedes, carpet beetles, ants, mosquitoes, and lice. There are no toxic materials or residue. Call (619) 825-2121 today for more information.

Green Lodging News Welcomes NuTek International to Product & Service Directory

Green Lodging News welcomes NuTek International to its Green Product & Service Directory in the Laundry/Ozone Systems category. NuTek’s Ozone Laundry Support Systems is a sustainable, On Premises Laundry installation that reduces water usage, conserves energy and provides superior disinfection—backed by 2018 microbial testing results verifying 99.99 percent disinfection against all common bacteria and viruses, including the CDC’s Top 9 Superbugs. As the only ozone laundry system to earn UL Recognition specifically for use with commercial washers, NuTek can connect to any programable, commercial washer. NuTek’s ozone technology generates an average energy savings of $.02-$.06 per pound of linen processed. Call (904) 504-1063 for a free energy savings analysis.

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Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

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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 editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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Green Lodging News, lodging’s leading environmental news source, announces the launch of Green Suppliers Spotlight, an e-blast to almost 20,000 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.)

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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. The Green Suppliers Spotlight e-blast will also be available in the Suppliers Spotlight Archive section of the Green Lodging News website.

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