Being eco-friendly is more than just a hype or a marketing strategy used by brands to justify their expensive prices — it’s a responsibility shared by humans, from big companies to common individuals like you and me.
While caring for the welfare of the environment starts at home, you can continue doing your part in the earth’s conservation when you travel. You can be a more eco-friendly traveler by being mindful of your energy and water consumption, reducing your meat intake, embracing minimalism, banning single-use plastics, and investing in reusable utensils and drinkware. Another effective way is to patronize businesses that are as eco-conscious as you — like green hotels.
How do you know whether your hotel is truly eco-friendly or just employing sneaky PR tactics? Here are 8 ways to find out.
Start by browsing websites that keep a massive database of legitimate green businesses. For travel and leisure, you may search for hotels on sites including Environmentally Friendly Hotels (http://www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com), The International Ecotourism Society (,https://ecotourism.org/), and Responsible Travel (https://www.responsibletravel.com/). You can also do a simple search on Google, like “best green hotels in Kilkenny city”.
You can also look for hotels with official green certification labels from credible organizations, like Sustainable Travel international, EarthCheck, GreenGlobe, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Just remember that smaller hotels often struggle to afford expensive improvements required to meet these certification standards so don’t be too quick to judge the accommodation providers on this basis alone.
So your hotel from Maldives tour packages claims to be eco-friendly? There’s only one way to find out if their attractive website can live up to its promises: inspect the room for energy and water conservation technologies
Green hotels invest in technologies designed to conserve water and energy. They may install energy-efficient appliances, lighting, heating, and cooling systems, or implement alternative sources of energy, like solar. Some high-end hotels implement keycards that automatically turn on the lights and appliances when guests arrive, then turn them off when they leave. As for water conservation, green hotels may have low flow toilets and low water laundry.
Hotels that practice sustainability by heart are generally more low-impact, which means they have amenities and practices designed to reduce wastage, limit carbon footprint, reuse natural resources, and recycle.
Aside from state-of-the-art water and energy conservation technologies, green hotels may also include an on-site garden that supplies the hotel restaurant, donations of restaurant leftovers to the poor communities, locally made furnishings from sustainable materials, eco-friendly cleaning products, and roof-top beehives. Some hotels go the extra mile by having bike-sharing stations.
Browse the hotel’s official website. Do they have some sort of environmental or sustainability policy? Green hotels not only rely on energy-efficient and water-conserving technologies — they help reduce their impact on the environment by encouraging guests to be green too.
Ideally, good policies should address both the hotel’s environmental and cultural conservation practices.
Green hotels embrace the “reduce, reuse, recycle” slogan through simple initiatives like reminding guests to turn off the lights and when they leave, reusing towels, having recycling bins in place, and banning the use of single-use plastic.
Some types of accommodation are naturally eco-friendly without needing to be certified. You may skip hotels and opt for tiny house stays, wilderness huts, glamping sites, cabins, and open-air beach houses. They all have small, often temporary, footprints. Plus, you might also help support the local community.
Green hotels are more likely to be, well, green. They’d rather use their extra space for gardening and landscaping than extending their patio or pool area. They have gardens, both for aesthetics and organic food production. An increasing number of hotels are also realizing the benefits of composting food waste.
Does the hotel restaurant have plant-based options for vegetarians and vegans? Do they have local, organic, and/or sustainably sourced food? Needless to say, a hotel that supports local farmers, encourages ethical farming methods, and reduce meat consumption is an eco-friendly one.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel and lifestyle writer. Aside from taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny.