As awareness of climate change has spread, more and more hotels have begun adopting initiatives to minimize their eco-footprints. Some hotels have even made environmentalism their core selling point, like these four amazing eco-friendly hotels. Other initiatives are more subtle—think asking guests to reuse towels or turn off the lights when they leave their rooms. And then there are the eco-friendly initiatives of a more unusual variety. Read on to learn about some of the most interesting hotel greening ideas to date.
1. Recycling hotel soap
Hilton Worldwide recently announced a new policy of recycling soap and bathroom amenities in order to provide these products to people in need. The hotel chain is partnering with Clean the World, an organization that recycles hotel soap and toiletries and distributes them around the world in order to prevent the spread of disease through better hygiene. Hilton isn’t the first to partner with Clean the World; to date, the organization has recycled toiletries from more than 4,000 hotels and distributed more than 29 million bars of soap throughout more than 99 countries.
Photo: Flickr user Ryan Somma via Wikimedia Commons
2. Turning cooking oil into fuel
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has developed a Green Partnership program that employs a wide variety of eco-friendly initiatives, from stringent recycling programs to the construction of a “living wall” made up of thousands of native flowers, plants, and cacti. But perhaps the weirdest of these initiatives takes place at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, where used cooking oil is collected and converted into biodiesel fuel—to the tune of more than 700 gallons a year. The hotel further invests in renewable fuels by incentivizing guests to drive hybrid or electric cars; pull up in a hybrid, and you’ll get 50 percent off the price of overnight valet parking.
3. Cleaning up the ocean—under water
At the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, the hotel’s diving center staff have formed their own “green team.” Their mission? To put their diving skills to good use by conducting regular underwater clean-ups off the island’s coast. In general, Conrad Hotels & Resorts has committed to a wide range of environmental policies aimed at reducing waste and promoting energy and water efficiency.
4. Using soap with a hole in it
In addition to recycling hotel soaps, there’s another effort to reduce the chances that half-used bars of soap simply get tossed in the trash after guests leave. Many hotels are employing new soap designs that consist of a ring of soap sans middle (picture a doughnut made of soap). The idea is that reducing the amount of soap afforded to each guest will help ensure that they have just enough soap for washing up during their stay—and not so much that it gets thrown away when they leave.
Photo: RanjithSiji via Wikimedia Commons
5. Ditching conventional electricity
At Sweden’s Urnatur Resort—which can be translated to “You are nature”—guests stay in small cabins or tree houses that are lit only by kerosene lamps, candles, or solar-powered lights. Guests can also enjoy vegetables, berries, and meats grown locally on the resort’s property. Also in Sweden, the STF Kolarbyn/Eco-lodge, the country’s “most primitive hotel,” opts out of using both electricity and running water. Instead, guests can read by the light of a fire before retiring to their earthy huts. Hooray! Even if you can’t find the cheapest flight to Sweden, you can save money by dialing down on the high tech amenities.
Photo: Flickr user Jon-Eric Melsæter vis Wikimedia Commons
6. Treating wastewater on site
Fiji’s Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort works to respect the region’s indigenous ecosystems. To that end, the hotel recycles its own wastewater via its very own wastewater treatment plant. The recycled water is then used to irrigate the resort’s organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchards, which include native trees that produce pineapples, bananas, avocados, coconuts, and other delectable products that get served up in the resort’s kitchens.
From recycled soap to underwater ocean cleanups, hotels are constantly adopting new ways to protect the planet. Spotted any wild eco-friendly initiatives in your travels? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!