Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More on Guestroom Amenities...

Earlier this month, I completed an article on guestroom amenities with the following headline: 'Green' Definitions Can Confuse Conscientious Amenity Purchasers. (Click here for the article.) In the article I described how difficult it is to determine how environmentally friendly an amenity is. The reason is that terms such as "natural," "organic," "pure," and "biodegradable" are used rather loosely. I referred to not only the amenity ingredients but also the bottles themselves. While I described the reasons it is important to reduce bottle waste, I did not go into much detail in regard to why true natural, organic and biodegradable amenity ingredients are important.

One reader, Rick Reibstein from the Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction in Boston (Rick.Reibstein@state.ma.us), helped me out and wrote the following in response to my article: “I thought your questions were great, but it’s important for people to think about the impact on aquatic and microbiological life. All that stuff goes down the drain. If it doesn’t break down by the time it gets to the sewage treatment facility, or into the river, or into the back lawn by way of the septic leaching field, and it has aquatic or microbiological toxicity, it’s going to kill the little bugs who break down the sewage or septage, or which keep the soil healthy, and/or living organisms in the water.”

A very good point. Too often we take for granted what goes down the drain.

1 comment:

GreenGirl08 said...

I would have liked to see both sides of the dispenser argument in this article. Often the eco-friendly choice for personal care products compromises the guests’ perception of luxury and value.
Not to mention that dispensers are made from plastic, and so are the gallons holding the liquids to refill them. These plastic containers will sit and continue to contaminate landfills with the rest of the non-degrading plastic items, polluting the Earth for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.

The process of refilling dispensers is also time consuming and messy. Guests may perceive dispensers negatively because: 1) They don’t know who used the dispenser beforehand, and 2) Dispensers are found in public restrooms, which may be unclean. On the other hand, miniature amenities can: 1) Provide the “pampering effect” guests are accustomed to at a luxury resort, 2) Guests like to take amenities home as a reminder of their stay or as a gift to loved ones, and 3) When customized, personal care amenities become advertising vehicles for the hotel.