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A Road Atlas to Environmental Issues For Travelers: OR Green Living on The Road

December 31, 2007

by Kit Cassingham

Being environmentally active should continue on the road. Take your green habits with you! It's time to prove the nay-sayers wrong about greenies not being environmentally friendly on the road. Pay as much attention to environmental issues while you travel as you do while at home. And get others to follow in your footsteps.

How environmentally active are you in your daily life? Do you take your green habits on the road with you?

When you stop to think how much the hospitality industry consumes resources in the effort to have ample light, clean sheets and towels, hot water and proper climate for their guests, you'll understand why you should take your green habits with you when you travel. A B&B is smaller than a hotel, but the consumption pattern of an average B&B consumes in a week about what 5.36 households consume in one year. There are actions you can take that will help the B&B industry reduce it's consumption and shrink it's environmental footstep.

If you haven't read Cradle to Cradle, do so soon. It will challenge your present concept of the Four Rs and replace it with a new paradigm of environmental soundness. Pay attention to as much of the Four Rs -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renewable -- as you can while you travel to do your part in greening the hospitality industry. And remember to be environmentally conscious at home too.

If you have interest in learning about the environmental challenges in the hospitality industry, visit ECOnomically Sound where you can read and discuss various topics facing you as you travel. The site is geared toward all aspects of the hospitality industry: B&B inns, cruise ships, golf courses, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas, so your eyes can be opened wide to all aspects of your travels and even daily life. Participating in the ECOnomically Sound discussions is your chance to voice your concerns and wants, and to help shape this growing green movement.

Here are lists of things you can do on the road to help lighten your impact on the environment.

    Reduce your use of resources (water, natural gas/propane, electricity, plastic, and paper) in the bathrooms, kitchen, yard, and around the house.
  • Minimize your shower time to save water.
  • Use the sheet and towel re-use program; if there isn't one, ask them to not clean your room daily
  • Unless you read the paper, ask to not get one.
  • Travel with your own soap and shampoo, saving the individual amenities from the trash when you leave.
  • Turn lights, TV and/or radio off when you leave the room.
    Reuse products as much as you can.
  • Your sheets and towels for several days, like you do at home.
  • Use durable cups and mugs rather than disposable ones.
  • Travel with a stainless steel water bottle to avoid disposable, plastic water bottles. There are lots of sizes to choose from, but this is a fairly handy size. I keep mine with me even when I fly -- empty of course until after I get through security.
    Recycle as much as possible, diverting many items from landfills helps save the planet from toxic waste and wasting land.
  • If your hotel doesn't have guestroom recycling bins, consider taking your recyclables with you and putting them in recycling bins on the street or at the airport.
    Renewable resources are harder to control while you travel. But you could consider using mass transit, walking or biking, or renting a hybrid or electric car as part of your attention to this environmental issue.
    Repair is probably not as relevant in traveling. But this can still act as a reminder to think repair even as you travel.
My Resources Guide For Green Travel
  • Food
    Choosing locally grown organic food will taste better, support the community you are visiting, and is more environmentally friendly. If you can't find a green restaurant, at least select such food items from the menu.
  • International Green Lodging Directory
    One way to travel green is to stay in green hotels. Environmentally Friendly Hotels has a long list of green hotels around the world, with indications of green actions taken by each hotel.

It's as important to practice your environmental convictions while you travel as it is while you are at home or at work. If you already conserve resources while on the road, consider adopting yet one more green action. And talk to others you meet on your travels about being green both at home and on the road. Don't forget to urge the hotels and bed and breakfasts where you stay to adopt environmentally friendly operations too. The more all of us do, the better.

For more tips on how to be green while traveling, check out my article How Do I Travel Green? on WeGetGreener.com




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