We all are constantly assaulted by “think green’ comments and admonishments. We all surely want to act ‘green’ but what does that mean?
Let’s look at hotels. Now I travel a lot, and most hotels have some sort of brochure prominently displayed about water use and re-using your towels. Now personally I think the best brochure would have a Native American with a tear running down his face while holding a polar bear cub, but I digress.
Anyway, these brochures comment on the millions of gallons of water wasted annually washing laundry, and if you want your towel and washcloth to be laundered, put it on the floor. Now I don’t know about you, but I generally wash in the descending order of cleanest areas to ‘dirtiest’ – i.e. I start with my eyelids and end up just south of my coccyx. The same with drying, I pat my face dry, then towel my hair, dry my arms, and end up by using the towel as a giant piece of dental floss, if you catch my drift.
Now for those of you with experience in either microbiology or site decontamination, no matter how one cleans an area, there is some residual contamination. I prefer to minimize my chance of catching ‘pink eye’ or some other illness.
Now, I would re-use my towels, but here is what I demand in return, Mr. hotel-chain-president.
First of all, I assume that in saving those millions of gallons of water (and associated labor) you might save some ‘green’ too (I mean the dollar green). So how about in return you pay your housekeeping staff a fair wage, and even (gasp) offer healthcare?
How about in the bathrooms soap and shampoo dispensers, so every day – no matter how well I hide the soap bar that is 87% intact – the dutiful staff finds it and throws it out replacing it with a new, lavender scented bar?
What about coffee condiments put out a la carte, so if I want a pinch of Splenda (never mind the risk) I can do that and not have to have the dedicated housekeeping person dispose of the creamer, real sugar, etc?
How about real HVAC controls that work, so I do not have to put it to 62.5 (why should the thermostat even be allowed to go that low is beyond me) to get the temperature down to about 69?
How about lights that require a room key to be inserted into a wall slot, so if I leave with 4 lights on they will shut off ten minutes after I leave. On a side note of you do this please mark some outlets – for charging stuff – as “always powered”.
But here is the real challenge: put in a “grey water” system. This is where the water from laundry is kept in a holding tank, and used to flush toilets. Now that is a really “thinking green”