Eco Hotels – Photo Credit: Franciso Martinez
For travelers concerned about green living, eco hotels are becoming more and more popular. When you’re about to go on holiday and you want to make sure that your hotel is concerned about its carbon footprint, a little research is enough. If you are evaluating hotels that you might go and stay at, here are some things to look for when determining the credentials of an environmentally friendly hotel.
In the United States, eco hotels have to be certified “green” by a neutral third party or the state they are located in. As eco traveling becomes more popular amongst many types of people, the criteria for labeling a hotel eco-friendly are becoming more stringent. In Europe the EU Ecolabel requires that hotels meet minimum health and environmental standards, including reduced waste, reduced energy and water consumption, and providing non-smoking accommodations.
A big part of eco travel is reducing your environmental footprint. The best Eco hotels should offer a comprehensive recycling program. Look for recycling bins in guest rooms and hotel lobbies. This is a sure sign that they are committed to being environmentally friendly. Does the hotel offer a newspaper recycling program to dispose of day-old newspapers? What about graywater recycling? Graywater recycling is the reuse of laundry, bath, and dishwater to irrigate hotel lawns and flowerbeds, which is a great way of saving clean water for guests.
Eco Friendly Housekeeping
Another way to determine if a hotel supports eco travel, is to take a look at guest room details. Are soaps and shampoos in wasteful individual packages or larger, bulk containers? Can guests choose to reuse their towels, washcloths, and bed sheets instead of having them laundered each day? When eco traveling, look for reusable dishes, water, and coffee cups in rooms. These details are a sure-fire sign that a hotel is committed to producing less waste every day.
Sustainable, Energy Efficient Buildings
Many newer eco travel hotels are being built using sustainable “green building” principles. Hotels built according to green construction principles may run on renewable energy sources such as wind or solar energy. They may be built using local sustainable resources, such as local stone or hardwoods, instead of flown-in sourced materials. Many newer buildings also feature natural cooling instead of air conditioning systems, which is an efficient and modern system.
Local, Organic Food
Photo Credit: David Ducoin
A final feature to look for when eco traveling is a hotel that serves healthy, locally sourced organic foods. Check to see if the hotel restaurant offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian options for non meat-eating guests. Do guest room mini-bars and refrigerators offer local, natural foods and snacks? In the best case, some dedicated hotels may even have on-site gardens or roof gardens where they grow fresh herbs and vegetables for the hotel restaurant. This is very important because the vegetables will be the freshest you could ever taste!
So, when traveling abroad, keep your eyes open for these few things and you’ll be sure to be a certified eco-traveller!
Marjorie Peters is a blogger who has lived in London all her life. Her passion for sustainability brought her to write for the Green sector, especially regarding travel.