Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hotel Recycling...Or Better Yet, Lack Thereof

While visiting Pete in Missouri last week we stayed in a great hotel with all kinds of amenities and services and signs all around boasting about their transition toward greener living. Energy efficient light bulbs lit each light, guests are encouraged to reuse towels for more than one day and if you're staying the week, your sheets will only be changed twice, rather than daily to help the hotel reduce water use and energy consumption.

All of this was impressive, yet one major factor was missing... recycling. I can understand that it just may not be all that practical for them to place recycling baskets in each of their hotel suites, but I was more stunned to learn that as a business, especially one of their size, they do not recycle any of the waste they accumulate on a daily basis...I mean, all of those mini shampoo bottles alone!

I decided to broach the subject with the general manager, a really down to earth woman, who told me plain and simple that they just don't have the space outside of the building to accommodate the large bins they would need for recycling. I found this hard to believe however, after taking my kids for a walk around the entire outside of the building one day and saw many, many different places that would accommodate such bins with no problems.
I think when it really comes down to it the reasons for not doing it revolve more around the effort it would take to begin and remain involved with the process. It takes time and knowledge to educate the staff about the procedures and of course the hotel having to budget funds to pay a company to come and haul away the materials. Or maybe they can sell them, therefore increasing their revenue. In this day and age, I just can't even fathom how they couldn't even try.

Have you had the opportunity to stay at any Eco-friendly hotels? If so, was recycling among it's top priorities?

Monday, March 2, 2009

No Dumping, Drains to Streams

My family and I are visiting Columbia Missouri, and I while walking down the city's sidewalk yesterday I couldn't help but see these logos imprinted into the cement where ever there was a water drain in the street.
A few years ago the City of Columbia (MO, that is) Public Water Works and the Missouri River Communities Network decided that it needed to do more to help educate the public about where their waste actually goes. It turns out that a lot of people didn't know that storm water drains near their homes and all around town actually led right into local streams! Now, however, after several educational forums and events and the application of these decals, Columbia residents are taking great care to keep their steams free of waste and other debris.
How does your community stack up? I'd love to hear!