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


Saving Our Poopy Planet, Honestly!

Victoria Cox

The Honest Company is a new line of eco-friendly baby products. This company is a huge example of green washing because people always feel better when using environmentally friendly products with their children (this helps them feel as if they are helping the planet a little more by going ‘green’). This is a company that qualifies as green washing because they are putting a whole new out look on baby products, and not just eco- healthy diapers and wipes. The Honest Company has taken their eco-friendliness to a different height by creating waste –reducing soaps, shampoos, healing balms, detergents, detangling spray, cleaning products, etc. The products they create that are plant based products as well as packaging that is renewable. I would say that The Honest company would suggest that we change almost everything that pertains to baby products, I think that they are trying to become the new and improved and eco-friendly baby product company. They are expecting people follow in their footsteps and redesign their whole dynamic.

A less green washed version of the company would have to be cloth diapers. This is a better solution than plant based product (such as The Honest Company) because this idea expands reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cloth diapers reduce the amount of waste being sent out because they are machine washable. A major obstacle in changing to cloth diapers would have to be keeping the stench of messy butts out of the diaper (even after a cycle in the washing machine). To make this product into a reality, we would have to come up with a eco-friendly and baby-friendly non harmful chemical to revamp (refresh) the diaper to make sure it is sanitary (especially after a poopy diaper,yuck!) Another obstacle to overcome in creating a cloth diaper would have to be the storage…think about it for a second, if you send you baby to their childcare center and they poop, what to do with the stinky diaper until you get home to put it in the washer? Putting the diaper in a bag would be the most logical answer, but wouldn’t the bag have a stench? Yes, but if we could create a bag with a baking soda insole so it was soak up the stinky diaper smell (the baking soda insole would be re-changeable). This could be a HUGE economic transformation because it, first and foremost, will create a whole new job market including; scientist, factory workers, etc. The downfall to this product would be that instead of throwing the dirty diaper in the can, washing the diaper daily would be a mandatory duty…this would cut back on the whole reduce notion. Honestly (ha, no pun intended), this cloth diaper movement could create a whole new social transformation as well. This could be a new social norm which could change the way we look at diapering our babies forever, breaking societal norms in terms of baby care.


Tube Free or not Tube Free?

Kimberly Clark Corp. has created a cardboard-free toilet paper roll. Their claim is that our country uses up to 17 billion cardboard tubes every year. For some reason they chose to compare this amount to filling The Empire State building twice. Scott Naturals, the specific toilet paper brand within the corporation, created the tube-less roll a couple years back and tested it on the public in the Northeastern parts of the country. It wasn’t until recently that it has been launched nationwide. They claim that their customers want to be “greener”, but are unwilling to pay extra for it. This company is employing a perfect example of greenwashing by allowing the public to believe that their toilet paper usage is causing mass amounts of waste and if they truly cared about the environment they would go green with the tube-less roll. A quote found in an article on this topic, “The cost to the company is about the same, according to Kimberly-Clark” is astonishing. If it is truly using less material/waste, wouldn’t it in fact be cheaper for the company?

That being said, I do
not know how possible it would be to come up with an entirely effective or completely “green” alternative. One idea that does come to mind is to ditch the idea of toilet paper altogether. We could revert to using individualized cloths that were to be cleaned after each use. They are re-usable, cost-effective, and obviously no tube is involved. Less labor would be required in the making and transporting of the cloths because we would not utilize the services as frequently as we do toilet paper. At the same time, though this would be a difficult thing to implement into our culture. A social transformation would need to occur before we would even consider losing the convenience and simplicity of toilet paper. The idea of handling feces ridden rags does not necessarily sound appealing either. Can our culture overcome this issue or are we confined to the tissue? I argue that is would be possible to eventually move past the consumerism of toilet paper if it became more normalized in our society.

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