An article in the New York Times covers the deepening of environmental action in corporate hotel chains. The article cites the now-common practice of putting signs up asking guests to re-use towels to cut down on water and energy use:
“‘There was this pseudo-eco move: We don’t change your sheets or wash your towels because we’re going to save the planet. Almost everybody was doing that to save money. It had absolutely nothing to do with the planet,’ said Steve Pinetti, the senior vice president for marketing at Kimpton Hotels, a San Francisco-based company that operates 43 luxury boutique hotels nationally.”
The article goes on to talk about the actions Kimpton has taken: putting recycling bins in every room, bettering its water conservation, and switching to all-organic cleaning products. The chain now even has "eco-suites" at its San Francisco boutique Hotel Triton (Green Postcard-level prices on some rooms – check it out!), furnished with recycled wood and organic sheets and towels.
Interviewing independent green hotel owners for Green Postcards has taught me there are so many ways to keep a lodging business eco-friendly. Many managers have told me they use very simple cleaning ingredients (baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice) in place of industrial cleaners. Most owners have an organic garden on-site. All have been conscientious on where they build, how they build, and what they build with. (When they build at all; those who can have retro-fitted existing buildings -- the greenest option.) Although its inherently harder to steer a big-ship corporation toward greener waters, here’s hoping more chain hotels, from boutiques to the global leaders, follow suit.---