Save the Earth -- Later
by Randy Cassingham
The hospitality industry is incredibly wasteful of natural resources. According to the ecology in hospitality web site ECOnomically Sound, the "average hotel (150 guestrooms) uses as many resources in one week as 100 families do in one year."
Some hotels really try to be more "green". Some say they're green but aren't, and it seems to me hypocrisy about being good is far worse than just not being good.
It's almost unfair to single out a single hotel on this one, since I've seen it so many places, but the Fiesta Inn Resort really takes the cake: this Tempe, Arizona, (read: crowded dry desert) hotel didn't buy "promise cards" from some hotel supply catalog, but instead, they printed their own card:
We are doing our part to preserve the beautiful desert environment and invite you to help us conserve water by using your towels more than once. Doing so will also reduce the amount of detergent waste that is recycled in our community.
Please hang your towels up if you wish to participate in this water conservation program... if you choose not to participate, simply leave your towels on the floor.
No problem: I don't wash my towels at home after using them just once, so why ask hotels do it? I'm happy to try to reduce my impact on the desert by doing my part to save water, so I carefully hung my towels up and went out to my meeting.
When I got back to my room that afternoon, sure enough: the maid had taken my towels down and replaced them with freshly laundered ones. That's "doing their part"?!
And it wasn't just me: the next day, back at the conference, I asked several others if it happened to them, too. Yep: they hung up their towels, but they were replaced anyway.
That is an awful lot of needless waste. But here they are trumpeting in Big Red Type how ecological they are while they're not actually doing it. Shame on them for the ridiculous waste. But double shame on them for patting themselves on the back while doing it.