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False eco-claims in the hospitality industry

There is an increasing trend in going green and claiming eco-friendly services. Many companies including hotels are marketing more eco-friendly alternatives, but are consumers aware of the legitimacy of these “greener” options. Many hotels spend more time and money claiming to be green rather than actually applying these practices to reduce their environmental impact. They slap a green label on anything possible to attract visitors. Of course the savvy eco-friendly traveler will pay a little more to help the environment, but are they really getting what they paid for. Lets take towel usage as an example, it is common to see a place holder to give visitors the option of reusing their towel by hanging them up, thus reducing water usage. Think about it, housekeepers replace towels on a daily basis, does one towel really make that much of a difference. A great amount of water is still being used, making the reuse of a towel insignificant. The same situation goes for sheets, but in reality, not getting your sheets washed everyday during your stay does not save the planet, and often, sheets and towels end up getting washed anyway. Another green alternative in some hotels are the use of recycling bins, but unfortunately housekeepers are still seen throwing recycled items into their trashcans when cleaning rooms. At the end of the day, these placeholders are suggesting that we recycle in anyway possible and to always choose an environmentally friendly alternative. This should remain unchanged although the effect of reusing towels and sheets seems to be insignificant compared to all other energy used in a hotel building.
For hotels to be less green washed there should be only one organization to oversee the legitimacy of a green hotel. Because of independent organizations, standards are obviously going to be different. So some hotel may have certifications that would not pass another organizations requirements. But this would be difficult for one place to oversee all hotels worldwide, which choose to take a more eco-friendly route. Or better yet, one towel per person, no sheets washed until check out, reduce prices for customers because they wont have a fresh pillow case or towel every morning.

Twambo Moyo

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Greenwashing Pacemakers

In the process of reusing these medical supplies, they call the families of pasted loved ones and ask them if they can removes things such as a pacemakers. One of the main destinations for these medical supplies is India. This form of green washing is kind of looked at in the same light as organ donating. Once you pass, giving a piece of you so that way someone else may live. Whether that be the item not being cleaned well enough or even damaging the equipment in the process. I believe that the idea of finding a way to give cheaper supplies to those who can’t afford it is a great one. The best way to improve the process would be to add those protocols. They already have some protocols for organ donating, so it should have similar ones for medical equipment. The first people who need to get on board with making these protocols needs to be the Food and Drug administration, FDA. The article stated, “The industry doesn’t like recycling. Sure, it’s partly because they would rather sell a new device than sell used ones, but it’s also because we, the American people, are so risk-averse that we have sent the message to the FDA that we are not going to tolerate any kind of risk associated with recycling.” Once those protocols are set in, they need workers to monitor and make sure companies are living up to the standards. One protocol that can be used is monitoring who they are taking these medical implants from and what health conditions they might have. Then once cleaned it should be analyzed for any residue and made sure that it still functions properly. The next step would be making sure that the packaging is suitable for that specific item. Though it would cost companies money to properly clean and make sure the products are safe to use, it can actual save them money by not getting sued or causing multiple deaths. Going green has a price, but someone’s life should not be the cost. In the same sense cutting of the program is cutting of people’s opportunity for a healthier life and with these new protocols, this could be more jobs for people. Green washing in the medical field is something that should be considered if we are not only saving material that would have been wasted, but saving someone’s life as well.

Link for short video about topic: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/825501

Written by Moriah Brocks