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FW: [GreenYes] Greening of Hospitality Industry

My husband and I just spent a week in New Orleans, where we had a fabulous time, but as a true enviro-geek, I was unhappy with the complete lack of recycling in our hotel or any references to green laundry services, etc.  Housekeeping did a complete change of linens every time we let them in (we sleep really late after jazz fest!) but they did start asking us what we needed after a few days.  Of course, they were pretty inconsistent, too – one day we got 4 towels and nothing else, one day I asked for hand towels but didn’t get a bathmat….


The amount of beer and liquor consumed in N.O. is phenomenal and with their open container laws almost all drinks are served in plastic cups so you can wander around the streets.  I didn’t see any signs of recycling in any hotel, restaurant, or public area, although a bartender told me there was a curbside program throughout the city. 


Is there anyone on the listserv from N.O. who can reassure me that some recycling etc. is being done behind the scenes?  Tourism is the biggest industry, I’m sure, and must have a huge impact on the environment in the city and surroundings.



This brings up something that I was just thinking about this weekend.  On Friday afternoon, I checked into a hotel and found a card in the bathroom that indicated that, as an environmental measure, towels would only be washed if you left them on the floor.  I was pleasantly surprised to see this, and next morning my husband and I left our towels on the shower curtain bar so they would not be washed.  When we got back to our room later in the day, we found all fresh bath linens, contrary to what the card had indicated would happen.  When I mentioned this to the clerk upon check-out, I was told that, in fact, the laundry is closed 2 days a week, and the card is there so people won't be upset when their towels don't get washed those two days.  I told the clerk that they shouldn't say one thing and do another.  She seemed sympathetic, but I'm sure my comment went nowhere.

Clearly, someone in the management of this hotel got the message somewhere/sometime that hotel guests would respond positively to a simple act of environmental sensitivity.  Management apparently did not get the message that hotel guests would likely react negatively to being lied to, nor did they get the message that the hotel could show some actual environmental sensitivity through minor measures like button valves on the shower heads, real cups and coffee mugs instead of disposables, recycled content toilet paper and tissues, &c.

So, does anyone have any information on the state of "greening" the hospitality industry?

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California
Phone: 562/570-4694
Fax: 562/570-2861

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