More and more travellers are getting eco-conscious. If they're travelling short-distance, they ditch the plane and take the bus or train. Apart from their carbon footprint, they're also thinking about the environment by avoiding souvenirs made of animal products and picking hotels that do their bit by giving back to the community. Hotels, in turn, are implementing changes to reduce wastage, save water and respect the environment. The Lalit Mangar in Faridabad has used natural raw material like gravel and earth chalk in its architecture and Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa has a water management unit, while ITC, as a brand, has made 'Responsible Luxury' and 'Sustainability' its tagline by using renewable sources of energy, introducing afforestation initiatives and supporting local communities. Many boutique hotels and eco resorts have green directives in their brand DNA--Google The Fern or CGH Earth and you'll realise how thoughtful hotels are these days.
I've stayed at many hotels that ask you to consider if you can really want to change your bath towel and bedsheets; that offer glass bottles instead of plastic mineral bottles; that remind you to turn off the AC when heading out. Small decisions have big impact--Marriott International is also reminding travellers this by banning travel-size toiletries at its properties.
No More Tiny Shampoo & Conditioner Bottles At Marriott
Marriott, the world's biggest hotel chain, will replace these single-use plastic bottles containing shampoo and conditioner with larger bottles that can be recycled in all of its 7,000 properties around the world (accounting to 5,00,000 rooms!) by December next year. Most of these travel-size toiletries that guests like to bring back home make it to the landfills because they're hardly ever recycled. Pause, think: How many times have you refilled them? I have never done it! By making this change, Marriott expects that it'll reduce plastic disposal by 30%. In other statistics, 500 million plastic bottles will not be disposed by 2020! That's a big step. Marriott has already installed large, pump-topped bottles in more than 1,000 properties. In July last year, Marriott International had banned plastic straws and stirrers, and stopped 1 billion straws from ending up in the landfills. A part of its Serve 360: Doing Good In Every Direction plan, Marriott is addressing environment issues and taking steps to make its hotels sustainable and green.
However, Marriott is not the only chain that has pledged to make a positive impact.
Another hotel chain, IHG has also promised to eliminate mini travel amenities in rooms and replace them with big, reusable bottles to reduce wastage. In March this year, Hilton announced that it will recycle soap bars from its hotels and make 1 million soap bars out of it! Of course, these used soap bars would be sanitised and reformed as soaps. Hilton has been recycling for many years and distributing toiletries to developing nations.
To be a responsible traveller, we don't need to stay at home, afraid of the carbon emissions from a jet. If travel is beneficial to our emotional and mental well-being, it's also a major contributor to economies around the world. So, we need to be more objective and balanced. Get involved with the environment and be aware of our impact on the destination. Pick an environmentally-friendly hotel; research if an experience is causing harm to the wildlife; choose travel operators that respect nature. Thankfully, now we have many more options because the world is waking up to new, greener possibilities.
Featured Image: Marriott International