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Housekeeping Hangups

Posted by eric on December 1, 2011

I travel. More than many, less than others, but in the end, I spend about 50-60 nights a year in a hotel. I know I've talked about the fitness side of travel, but I'd also like to talk about the environmental side of travel...

When I travel I often times will stay more than one night - and perhaps I'm unusual in my "normal" life at home, but I don't wash my sheets, wash my towels, clean my shower, and vacuum my carpet every single day at home.

So why would I need to have those things done for me when I travel? Some of the negatives:

  • Additional water usage
  • Additional power consumption
  • More chemicals used (more created, processed, filtered from our drinking water)
  • More waste from replacing barely-used shampoos and conditioners

I would like to propose that there should be an option when you check in to opt out of housekeeping service during a hotel stay. For those times when you're only staying a night, it wouldn't be an option, but for longer stays it could significantly reduce the environmental impact caused by cleaning the rooms every day.

I propose this method, because the current process of following the hotel's "hang up your towel if you don't want it replaced" policy often times results in the towel being replaced anyway. If the room isn't cleaned, then there is no opportunity to replace the towels. Or the sheets. Or vacuum the floor.

Sure, I know it's just a drop in the bucket - the environmental impact of business travel goes beyond hotel stays (airplane fuel/emissions, car fuel/emissions, etc.) - but tackling little drops eventually adds up to big pools of impact.

And this is something that any traveler can easily participate in as appropriate, with little or no inconvenience to them.

Stay fit - and environmentally conscious - everyone.


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