Green Teams

A hybrid structure is evolving where a “corporate green team” is created to bring staff from all departments together to help implement and support strategic sustainability initiatives. They also act as a cross-functional umbrella group to screen ideas, identify resources, provide support and help link green team activities with corporate sustainability objectives.

Click here to access a basic outline of getting started and effective ideas:
Best Green Practices & Green Teams

Green Team Series

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Making the Business Case

Part 3: Getting Started, Emerging Trends and Best Practices

Part 4: Get Senior Management Involved and Engage Employees

Part 5: Engage Customers to be Part of the Solution

Part 6: Align Green Teams with Corporate Sustainability Goals

Finally! Eco-Friendly Details That Make a Difference

Brand your hotel’s image with the right sustainable materials

It is no secret that guests today are well informed about recycling, eco-friendly materials, conservation, and disposal. So what impression do hotels make when they market themselves as “green” but guests see the services directory printed on recycled paper (we hope) held in a non-environmentally friendly binder or cover?

These are products that your guests come in contact with frequently or use daily. They include accessory items such as guest service directory covers, binder covers, menu covers, and presentation folders to ice buckets, trays, desk blotters and tabletop accessories. Hotels should recognize these as one of the most visible ways to make a statement about their property, services, goals and vision and demonstrate the hotel’s green initiatives to guests!

What better way to show your commitment to sustainability than through the product itself! Not only will guests be impressed, but they will also appreciate to know the environmental benefits of that specific product: reduce waste and contamination of landfills and our water – that is a major one!

As a pioneer of innovative menu cover manufacturing, Impact Enterprises, have been researching and creating solutions for quality eco-friendly materials for several years by simply listening to their clients needs (but you don’t have to take our word for it, just take a look at the impressive client list at the end).

Their products are manufactured from materials that are:

  • Natural and environmentally friendly
  • Durable, reusable and safe
  • Attractive and upscale

Click here to see creativity at work and samples of client products

Understanding the impact of your purchasing decisions is critical to supporting environmental responsibility.

Top 10 Green Details You Should Know About

  1. ‘Poly’ materials – polyethylene and polypropylene are available in recycled format. Both are durable, however, polyethylene is the more durable of the two ‘polys’. For lasting durability make certain the spine is a heat-scored spine. Recycled polyethylene Guest Services Directory covers and Menu covers are popular and economically priced.
  2. Farmed Woods – products manufactured from solid woods harvested from Verified Sustainable Forests are the most environmentally responsible products. Solid wood accessory items are durable, recyclable, reusable, decompose quickly, and contain no contaminants.
  3. Bonded Leather – this recycled smooth finish leather is durable and contains natural materials. Verify that the polymers used for bonding are non-toxic.
  4. Chipboard Presentation Products – this is a recycled product that decomposes quickly when disposed of.  It is usually used as a base (support) for other materials. However, chipboard by itself creates a unique and durable product. Why cover this eco-friendly material with a vinyl or laminate. Use eco-friendly soy inks for decoration.
  5. Wire Binding – use wire binding instead of plastic coils because it can be recycled.
  6. Recycled Boards and Paper – use 100% recycled binder boards and paper to make covers and do not forget about the many sheets inside. 100% post-consumer papers choices are available.
  7. Eco-Friendly Inks and Coatings – lots of eco-friendly ink choices. Good options are soy ink, and UV screening inks that contain no solvents. Use only aqueous coated products as these contain no solvents also. Solvents contaminate landfills.
  8. Verified Sustainable Forests – make sure wood products are certified by a reputable forest certification program such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) that was also adopted by the American Forest & Paper Association. This ensures that we will have forests and wildlife for the future generations.
  9. Metal – copper, brass, and aluminum are available in recycled format. These metals create durable products, can be recycled several times, and are available in a wide selection of natural (organic) patina finishes. Impact is the first manufacturer of copper, brass and brushed aluminum binder covers, menu covers, and other presentation products. All of their metals are recycled, and have an international following.
  10. Ring Mechanisms – request that the ring mechanisms used in binder covers and guest services directory covers be installed with screws, nuts and bolts, or custom clips. These will then be easily removed for reuse or recycling. If riveted, these mechanisms will just end up in landfills.

Impact Enterprises meets the criteria and offers a very substantial array of quality upscale green products. Their solid wood products have not only been tested by Impact, but also by their customers including Live Nation Entertainment (House of Blues clubs), Primland (an international eco-resort), Trump International, Paramount Pictures, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and the Borgata Resort Casino to name a few.

Best news of all, these products are affordable! Even though the green products are in the White House and the Smithsonian and are being used by the U.S. Military, Harvard Law School and all major hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos, spas, and golf clubs – they are economical for the hotel industry.

To find out more information about custom binders, menu covers, presentation folders, award covers, sales kits, tabletop and desktop accessories, custom signage and boxes, portfolios, corporate gifts and other products visit

Hotel Cuts Water Use Nearly 80%

Is that possible? Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque, New Mexico, claims they’ve done just that. Reopening after a $30 million remodel, the Andaluz reduced their water use by 78% with their water savings program.

The Andaluz, which previously existed as the La Posada hotel, was extensively remodeled according to LEED standards. In order to cut water use, the Andaluz developers implemented numerous water and energy saving conservation measures, including:

  1. “Oxygen-assisted” low-flow shower heads
  2. Rainwater collection system for irrigation (in process)
  3. Efficient low-flow toilets
  4. Solar panels to heat about 60% of the hotel’s hot water (which will cut energy use by 20%)
  5. Guestroom controls
  6. Fluorescent and LED lighting

The result, in May 2004 the La Posada used 1.2 million gallons of water. In May 2005, the last year of operation before remodel, La Posada used 730,000 gallons in a month. After remodel, in May 2010, the Andaluz significantly reduced usage to 300,000 gallons of water. Although this is one month, it doesn’t dictate what the new hotel will average through the months to come, especially considering it’s a new hotel. Looking at eight different months of usage over the years, the new hotel averaged 770,000 gallons less than its predecessor La Posada.

Lets put that into perspective. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimates a hotel to average around 200 gallons per room per day. Assuming these numbers, Andaluz, in its best month, used 300,000 gallons in a month, which is 10,000 gallons each day – and with 107 rooms and suites, it averages around 93 gallons each day per room. That is better than the low average.

Andaluz took on aggressive green measures, including energy efficiency, in its remodel and operations that the hotel is applying for LEED gold status (it had previously aimed for silver). Once certified, it will be one of the first historically renovated gold LEED hotels in the U.S. –

Visit Green Hotel Directory for more green hotels.

Green Your Routine

By Susan Patel

I was watching clips of the Today Show a few days ago and found a segment titled “Green Your Routine,”which brought attention to green cleaning products. It got me thinking: why isn’t there a law or regulation requiring manufacturers to list ingredients? Not knowing what chemicals are in products can be dangerous. You don’t know what you’re using and how it could destroy our immune system, cause cancer, lung disease, and death – a health and safety nightmare!

Companies are shockingly allowed to use general terms for chemicals such as “fragrance”or “preservatives.” This wouldn’t make the cut with the Food & Drug Administration, but apparently products we touch and breatharen’t that important on the list. What we need is national regulation so that companies must disclose every ingredient in a product.

So, what are we to do? Warning labels are useful, first line of defense. But we need to start gradually creating a system that works for our well-being and us.We have to start somewhere, right? Why not with all of us – you!

At the frontline of the EcoGreenHotel Store, I’m on a mission to know exactly what we’re selling. One form of verification I’ve become familiar with is the Green Seal, a third-party certifier. Of course there is also EcoLogo, Environmental Choice and EPA’s Design for the Environment Program that test products for effectiveness, besides health and environmental considerations. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other since each is slightly different, however a certified product is better than none at all.

When hotels purchase products certified by Green Seal or any of the other eco-labels, they know that the products meet good standards and consumers aren’t completely on their own. Still, some green cleaning products are not certified. There are several reasons for this: the product might be new on the market, the company that produces it has chosen not to pay the fee the certifying agencies charge to evaluate it, or that they didn’t meet the criteria of that certifying organization.

When it comes to what we sell on EcoGreenHotel Store, we’ve made sure our green cleaning products are Green Seal certified. For example, the Proxi hydrogen peroxide multi-purpose cleaner, a versatile, environmentally friendly cleaning product formulated with an active ingredient that is safer than aggressive acids and bleaches. Added bonus, due to its high concentration (dilute 1oz per quart water to make 128 quarts), it’s actually saving you money too!

Aside for looking for a third-party certification, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) is another tool that helps hoteliers to make a well-informed decision. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) also has information about many toxic substances at

Next time you’re purchasing your green cleaning products, make sure you know what chemicals are in the products you’ll be using at your green hotel.

Energy Star Benchmarking: Building the Proper Foundation for Your Green Hotel

Here’s a little-known green hotel fact: A ten percent reduction in energy costs is equivalent to increasing RevPAR by $.60 for limited service hotels and by more than $2 for full-service hotels.

Want to see if that statement holds true at your green hotel? The first step is to know exactly how much energy you’re currently using across the board, taking factors like weather and building size into account, and then to track ongoing energy and water consumption after improvements have been made.

Sounds complicated and time-consuming, right? It doesn’t have to be. The easiest, most efficient and valid way we know to assess and monitor your green hotel’s energy consumption is through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Benchmarking program.

We like ENERGY STAR Benchmarking for green hotels because:

  • It’s relevant. The program has designed a component specifically for the hospitality industry. No more trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
  • It’s meaningful. Complicated data is distilled and broken down into manageable “news you can use.” Your green hotel team can quickly and easily see how its efforts are paying off, and also where there’s additional room for improvement.
  • It’s respected. Consumers trust the blue ENERGY STAR emblem so much that Travelocity, Orbitz and AAA have all made it possible for travelers to see which properties have earned (and which have not earned) an ENERGY STAR.

According to the EPA, more than 5000 hotels have benchmarked using ENERGY STAR’S Portfolio Manager tool, and over 400 of those have earned a coveted ENERGY STAR – and a clear advantage over the competition.

Is your green hotel among them?

If not, why not join the thousands of other properties that are reaping the benefits of ENERGY STAR today? EcoGreenHotel, an Energy Star Partner, can make the process easy and yes, even fun! Contact an EcoGreenHotel professional today to find out how to get started.
Shoot for the ENERGY STAR at your green hotel. You, your guests, and Mother Nature will all be glad you did!

Green Hotel Guide: 8 Step Recycling Program

Hotels can make a significant impact on waste reduction and recycling. A waste audit conducted in six properties by the Florida Energy Extension Service indicated that waste generation in guest rooms varied from 1/2 to 28 1/2 pounds of waste per day. One hotel in their pilot proje ct saved about 1.25 billion BTU of energy in six months by recycling. This reduction in energy use (which is 125,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity) is the same as energy consumed by 1,250 100-watt light bulbs burning continuously for 42-days. Imagine the savings!!

Let’s get started! Follow these eight steps to create your hotel’s recycling program – you won’t regret it, trust us!

1. Select a Recycling Coordinator

Accountability is key to the success of your green hotel’s recycling program. Who is going to be at the forefront of this effort? This is especially true at the beginning. Finding the right person to head this up is crucial. The ideal recycling coordinator will be:

  • Enthusiastic about recycling and/or the environment
  • Well organized
  • A good communicator
  • Familiar with starting, overseeing and maintaining programs
  • In contact with the company’s waste haulers, janitorial staff or contracts

How much time does this position take? Well, that really depends on your employee’s participation. One hour per month is usually enough to maintain a successful hotel recycling program. Ask for volunteers, and we bet you’ll find a great candidate quickly.

2. Decide What to Collect

Consider that paper makes up an average of 37.5 percent of the waste stream. What else does your hotel use? What supplies do you have on hand? What do your guests and employees use? Take a walk around and start making a list.

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Computer paper
  • Aluminum cans
  • Bathroom amenities
  • Batteries
  • Light bulbs
  • Computers and accessories
  • Glass bottles
  • Inkjet/toner cartridges
  • Plastic bottles
  • Scrap metal
  • Paper or plastic cups

3. Choose a Collection Method

To mix or not to mix? That is the question to ask. Now that you know which materials you are going to recycle, how do you collect them? Does everything have to be separated or can it all be thrown in the same bin? Your hotel can do either. Here are the pros and cons of each option:

Source Separation: Recyclables are separated by specific type. Examples:

  • Paper recycling would have many bins including: white paper, colored paper, cardboard, office mail, magazines/catalogs, etc.
  • Plastic recycling would have bins for each type of plastic: #1-7


  • Bin items are extremely specific, with fewer questions as to what goes where
  • Separated materials can have a higher market value
  • It creates more environmental awareness for both guests and employees


  • It requires more recycling bins (and a higher setup cost)
  • Your recycling coordinator may have to spend time sorting materials
  • You may have to find multiple destinations for recyclables if they are source-separated
  • Too many recycling containers in your guest rooms

Commingled Collection: Recyclables are mixed together. The separation process happens at a material recovery facility. Examples:

  • Paper recycling has one bin to collect all paper
  • Plastic recycling has one bin to collect plastics #1-7 together


  • It is less time-consuming for employees
  • It usually involves larger participating groups
  • The recycling coordinator will have less time invested


  • Market values may be lower (e.g. mixed office paper may lower the value of computer paper if both are combined)
  • Materials may be contaminated more easily if commingled
  • Less opportunity for guest and employee education about recycling

4. Choose a Hauling Option

You know what materials you are recycling. You’ve determined your method of collection. You’ve got full recycling bins. Now how do you get rid of it?

Determining how to haul your green-conscious hotel’s recyclables away can be one of the greatest challenges. You should be realistic in planning how much your business is capable of recycling. The following are the most common hauling options available to most businesses:

Drop-Off Recycling Locations
Once you’ve collected all the recyclables from guest rooms, common area, back of house and the office, your recycling coordinator, or another volunteer, can drop off materials at a local center.’s recycling locator will help your business find nearby drop-off locations. You can also see what your local Materials Recovery Facility will accept from businesses.

Things to consider when choosing a municipal or commercial drop-off center include:

  • Recyclables accepted
  • Contamination guidelines
  • Minimum quantity requirements
  • Prices per recyclable
  • Hours of operation
  • Payment options

Money earned from selling recyclables can be used to reimburse your recycling coordinator. Or, to create a fund for hotel events and parties for your dedicated hotel staff.

Pick-Up Providers: Pick-up services will often require a higher quantity of recyclables that your hotel alone generates. If your green hotel can produce the amount of recyclables required for a service such as this, here is some information on how to find the right pick-up provider for your hotel:

Commercial Recyclers: Commercial recyclers are often more suited for businesses generating larger volumes of recyclables. Pick-up or hauling fees may apply. They may offer other services including waste hauling, collection bins, educational materials and/or employee training.

Commercial Waste Haulers: Commercial waste haulers wanting to provide a “complete package” to their customers have started to offer recycling services, because they are able to make up their lost waste hauling fees with recycling revenue.

Commercial waste haulers may have volume and contamination requirements, pick-up fees and other requirements. You may be able to reduce your overall waste hauling expense, and only have to deal with one company, for solid waste and recycling.

Small Haulers: Don’t meet the required volume of a commercial recycler or waste hauler? Small haulers may work for you. These companies are usually considered “mom and pop” shops. They run smaller routes with fewer trucks, employees and equipment.

Larger commercial recycling companies and waste haulers will usually recommend smaller haulers because they buy the recyclables directly from the smaller haulers.

Small haulers may also have volume and contamination requirements and pick-up fees.

Cooperative Recycling: Your hotel only generates a small volume of recyclables. What can you do?

  1. Partner with neighboring businesses
  2. “Piggyback” onto a larger business’ recycling program

By pooling your recyclables, you can qualify for pick-up by a commercial recycler or waste hauler. Cooperative recycling is popular in multi-tenant buildings or complexes, strip malls and industrial parks. Cooperative recycling also makes it easy for recyclers to coordinate pick-ups more effectively.

If you get involved with a larger company, you win because you are able to recycle at no additional expense. The larger business wins by receiving additional volume and extra revenue.

The drawbacks?

  • You may have limitations on the types of products your can recycle.
  • The larger business may be penalized for any contaminated products that you send.

Back Hauling: Is your hotel in a rural location? You may have difficulty finding a recycling source. Consider back hauling (or secondhand hauling).

For instance, a grocery store could request that its delivery truck backhaul recyclables to a larger metropolitan market if the truck was empty on the return trip anyway.

Back hauling may be more challenging to find, and it’s only ideal for businesses that receive deliveries in the first place. But it’s better than not recycling your materials at all.

5. Set Up Recycling Bins and Guidelines

Organization is crucial to recycling. No matter what type of recycling program you implement, you’ll want to set up clearly-labeled plastic bins in places everyone will use them. Some good locations:

  • A paper recycling bin and/or ink cartridge recycling bin in the copy room
  • Aluminum/glass/plastic recycling bins in the kitchen and breakfast area
  • A mixed recycling bin in all guest rooms
  • An electronics recycling bin in the storage room

Another issue to consider for your recycling program is contamination. Materials that are contaminated won’t be recycled and could ruin larger batches of recycling. Luckily, contamination can easily be avoided by following these steps:

  1. Rinse out containers, so bins won’t get dirty
  2. Make sure there’s no food waste mixed in with recyclables (e.g. cardboard pizza box with oil remains) and that materials aren’t mixed (e.g. aluminum cans mixed with paper) if your recycler requires separation
  3. When in doubt, throw it out

Now it is time to implement your hotel’s earth friendly recycling program, and there are several factors to consider, including:

Internal Collection Container Locations
Your program will only be as effective as how easy it is for guest and employees to participate. Bin quantity and location plays a huge role in this. Here are a few options:

Desk Side or Desktop Containers
Everyone goes through paper. By placing a paper recycling bin next to the trash at each employee’s and guest room’s desk, it will become second nature for them to recycle paper. You can find a range of different styles on

Central Collection Containers
These containers are for hotel common areas, and should be placed strategically in areas where products will be collected. An office copy room is an ideal area for a paper collection container, just like the kitchen would cater (no pun intended) to aluminum and glass recycling. Common sizes for central containers are 20- to 50-gallon plastic bins.

Final Collection Containers
These are often provided by the recycling service provider and serve as a final destination for all your recyclables before they are picked up or dropped off. Products from guest rooms, office and central collection bins will be unloaded into these large bins, which are usually hampers on rollers or plastic barrels with lids and wheels.

6. Monitor Your Program

Once your hotel’s recycling program is in place, monitor its progress to evaluate cost-effectiveness, employee participation and environmental impact.

Provide Feedback to Employees
Share the success, progress and problems with your hotel’s program periodically with guests and employees. Here’s how:

  • Use company-wide e-mails to distribute updates or milestones about the program
  • Inform staff of certain contaminants or individuals/departments with strong participation
  • Publicize to guests the quantity your company recycles and revenues over a certain period (month, quarter, year); your hauling company will be able to provide this information
  • Calculate/distribute disposal cost savings based on the decrease of waste
  • Survey employees/guests/departments to identify program problems and improvements
  • Post informative articles on recycling, source reduction, reuse and/or the environment to further educate hotel staff
  • Include information on recycling program participation in the new employee orientation and/or handbook
  • Show how successful and creative your program is by promoting your hotel’s efforts outside the business through green internet marketing
  • Consider applying for various local, state or federal awards, such as the American Forest & Paper Association’s Paper Recycling Awards
  • Become an EPA WasteWise business to further improve your program
  • Get involved in local, state and/or national recycling and environmental or industry-related organizations.
  • Distribute press releases on your green hotel’s program and accomplishments. Submit your press release to EcoGreenHotel and contact us to see how you can be featured in our distributions as well as social media-marketing program.

7. Promote Your Program Through Education

Proper staff education is crucial to the success of your hotel’s recycling program. Here are some tips:

  1. Education should start before your recycling program, so employees know what to recycle
  2. Introduce your staff and housekeeping staff to the program in writing, such as an introductory memo, and at a staff meeting
  3. If you are using a recycling pickup service provider, ask about employee education and training
  4. Explain how recyclables are collected, what is recyclable, how the program will benefit the environment and the company, as well as other waste reduction and reuse measures that will be implemented
  5. Show samples of recyclables and non-recyclable materials (contamination) on a board or sign near recycling containers

Recycling Signage
Create your own container and recycling signs:

  • Recycle Cardboard
  • Recycle Glass
  • Recycle Inkjet Cartridges
  • Recycle Paper
  • Recycle Plastic
  • Recycle Toner Cartridges
  • Do NOT Recycle! Contaminants

8. The Role of the Housekeeping Staff

Housekeeping staff needs to be aware of the program since they will be collecting recyclables from each guest room. They need to be aware of the program to prevent unintentional contamination. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • How will the recyclables be store in the cart separate from trash?
  • How much time does this collection process add to cleaning each guest room?
  • How does this impact the overall housekeeping schedule?
  • What is the disposal process once collected by your housekeeping staff?

GREEN TEAMS Part 2: Making the Business Case

GREEN TEAMS Part 2: Making the Business CaseLast month we introduced this new GREEN TEAMS series and briefly focused on green teams and the business value. This month, before we go further into the “how” we will be taking a look at “why” first.

One of the key challenges consistenty raised as more and more hotels “go green” is making the business case for investing resources to support green teams. Does it make sense? Businesses in all areas including hotels are just beginning to quantify the benefits from green teams, therefore at this point, the business case is more intuitive and anecdotal in nature.

Based on a review of case studies and interviews with green team leaders, the business value of green teams includes the following:

Cost Savings
Carrie Freeman, a Corporate Sustainability Stretegist at Intel, commented, “When it comes to looking at ways to reduce our footprint, we very much see a direct coorelation between reducing our costs and engaging our employees.” Be it changing light bulbs, turning off the lights or getting your employees to innovate greener solutions in their jobs, engaging your employees to identify easy, low cost efficiency initiatives can result in significant cost savings. For example, Intercontinental Hotels invested $400,000 to change light bulbs on their properties and saved $1.2 million over four months.

Attract & Retain Best Talent
A green team, when part of a broader sustainability strategy, can give employees an outlet for their personal interests, help raise moral, improve loyalty and help attract and retain the best and brightest talent, who are attracted to companies with an authentic green commitment. Losing and replacing a good employee costs companies between 70% to 20% of an employee’s annual salary, according to Engaged!, a new book on employee engagement. And when the economy begins to heat up, the best talent may be looking for greener pastures. Libby Reder, Head of Environmental Initiatives at eBay, believes their Green Team is an important reason why some employees stay at eBay, and according to their recruiters, it also helps them attract the best talent.

Strengthen Brand & Increase Market Share
Hotels can bolster their brand and potentially increase market share by walking the talk and supporting green teams as a strategy for getting their employees and guests behind sustainability. They can also use employees to identify new opportunities to improve their practices and achieve their sustainability goals. “The engaged workforce will find more opportunities to get lean and identify more opportunities to innovate and create products and services that lower customers’ environmental impacts. All of this work will improve the top and bottom lines,” comments sustainable business expert Andrew Winston, in his recent book Green Recovery.

The National Environmental Education Foundation’s (NEEF) recent report The Engaged Organization Corporate Employee Environmental Education Survey and Case Study Findings stresses, “By engaging employees, companies spark innovative changes in everyday business processes that save money and reduce environmental and social impacts while also inspiring employees to make sustainable choices at home and in their communities.”

Green Meetings 101-Top 10 Green Practices by Scott Parisi

There’s an old saying that people age at twice the normal rate when they’re in a meeting.

We now know that unfortunately, Mother Nature does, too.

Meetings and conventions that are run the traditional way have a strong negative impact on the environment, causing an increased demand for energy, paper, water and transportation, and a significant contribution to the waste stream. That’s why hotels and resorts around the world are devising new standards for green meetings – and event planners are embracing those standards.

In fact, venues without meaningful green initiatives are losing business. For example, Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s recent mandate that state meetings and conventions must take place in certified green hotels whenever possible set off a stampede among hoteliers who scrambled to “get their green on” and remain relevant. Similar mandates are happening around the country as more governments and corporations instruct their meeting and convention planners to choose only eco-friendly venues.

And venues are stepping up to the plate by coming up with (and publicizing!) innovative green meeting initiatives. For example, Hilton recently introduced its Hilton Meetings product, which features online tools for organizing meetings, eliminating the need for paper. For the parts of the event that do require paper, Hilton uses recycled products printed with eco-friendly inks. Marriott is donating a portion of its group room revenue to charities that work to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Fairmont’s Eco-Meet program gives planners the opportunity to select a meeting structure that minimizes waste and maximizes environmental awareness.

Attendees at Kimpton Hotels’ inspired EarthCare meetings can take home the paper on which their conference agenda was printed and plant it to produce wildflowers. Rosen Hotels and Resorts pioneered green meeting best practices that recently earned its owner, Harris Rosen, a prestigious Legacy Award from Sustainable Florida. And Individual properties are also developing their own green meeting programs. Among other things, the Sheraton in Reston, Virginia features sustainable menu items for its hungry conference-goers to enjoy.

What can your property do to increase meeting and convention bookings? Implement some or all of EcoGreenHotel’s Top Ten Green Meeting Tips, that’s what! See how many of these tips are already in place in your green hotel, then strive to do even more:

1. Limit paper waste by using e-mail, the web, and listservs for as much advance communication (proposals, menus, banquet orders, etc.) as possible. Offer online registration and paperless billing. Some properties even set up free websites for conference organizers, allowing them to post agendas and workshop handouts online. In your meeting rooms, provide presenters with white boards and water-based, non-toxic markers instead of paper flip charts.

2. For items that must be printed, use 100% post-consumer recycled paper and eco-friendly vegetable-based or soy ink. Print on both sides of the page.

3. Ask attendees to return their plastic name tag holders at the end of the event. Put labeled boxes near each exit – one for the paper part of the tag – which can be recycled – and another for them to drop the plastic holders into on the way out.

4. Offer condiments like salt and pepper, sweeteners, creamer, cream cheese, mustard and ketchup, etc. in bulk containers instead of individual single-use packets. Serve beverages from pitchers rather than in individual plastic bottles.

5. Set tables with reusable tablecloths, napkins, coasters, eating utensils, plates and glasses rather than disposables. Consider eliminating tablecloths altogether to save water in the laundry, and absolutely eliminate all Styrofoam. Use centerpieces of live plants, rocks, edible organic fruit or other Earth-friendly, natural items.

6. Promote paper, plastic, glass and aluminum recycling and vegetable waste composting by stationing a number of recycling and compost bins – each clearly labeled to maximize proper use – in easily accessible places throughout the venue.

7. Develop a menu that features as many locally-sourced, seasonal organic foods and beverages as possible – and try to make the price comparable with conventional menus. Be sure to present plenty of attractive options for vegetarian and vegan diners.

8. Be a good neighbor by teaming up with a local food bank or shelter to arrange donations of leftover banquet food. Donate a portion of the proceeds from each convention to an Earth-friendly charity. Provide meaningful ways for incoming groups to benefit your community. Offer volunteer opportunities like planting trees to offset their carbon footprint, or participating in a beach cleanup.

9. Prepare every staff member – from the front desk receptionist to the waste management director to the purchasing clerk – to maximize their role in each green meeting. Be certain that cleaning crews are trained to recycle everything, and that the chef understands the need to buy locally whenever possible. Get everyone on the same page.

10. Publicize your efforts! Tell the world about what you’re doing. Not only will tooting your own horn bring in more business, but you’ll also be building and strengthening the wave of sustainability that is currently sweeping the globe. Meeting participants and convention-goers will take some of your good ideas with them, and will implement them in their homes and offices. Other businesses will emulate your efforts as well.

Follow EcoGreenHotel’s Ten Tips and soon every meeting will be sustainable – and so will our planet!

A #TWIST from my normal Blog by Scott Parisi


As the founder and president of EcoGreenHotel, I am always looking for pioneering ideas and solutions to support hospitality sustainability. A very important part of my search for new ideas and technologies is to spend a part of my weekend catching up with Jason Calacanis and his weekly podcast “This Week in Start Ups”.

The thirteenth episode premiered this past Friday the 28th of August. Every episode I have viewed has added value to EcoGreenHotel and hopefully to our visitors experience. Episode 13 was no different. This week we have taken two ideas from the show and have added them to the EcoGreenHotel platform.

First off, Jason mentioned a new technology called Tweetmeme which allows visitors the ability to view how many times a blog or a news article has been re-tweeted as well as the ability for our visitors to easily share a story with their Twitter network. We have already added this feature to our blogs as well as the News and Trends.

The second tool picked up during the thirteenth episode of TWIST came directly from Jason’s guest Matt Mickiewicz, founder of and 99designs.

Store Logo

Today EcoGreenHotel is weeks away from revealing our online store front EcoGreenHotel Store which will be the best selection of sustainable products to support the hospitality industry. By utilizing 99designs we will  have the oppurtunity to have our new logo recreated by multiple designers to give us a choice of professionally produced artwork at a fraction of the price through traditional sources.

There is a third benefit I picked up from the show this week and that is an offer from Jason. The offer is for a $500 Apple gift certificate to purchase the new Iphone 3GS for anyone who provides the best recap of Episode 13. So here you go Jason….

This Week in Start Ups-Episode 13

This Week in Start Ups starts every week with a catchy tune from Kanye West followed by a warm welcoming from your host Jason Calacanis. The show is then broken down into segments and lately Jason has been adding a new segment on a weekly basis. Who knows maybe Episode Thirteen’s, 2 hour and twenty minute timeline might not be sufficient time in the spotlight for the Trump like ego maniac entrepreneur which is Jason Calacanis.

Jason, utilizing his marketing genius starts the show by means of Twitter and his audience to thank his sponsors through @DNAMail, @WebSpy, @ Audible_Com, and @Ustream. Who knows someday he may be he will be thanking @EcoGreenHotel.

Recently the weekly guests have started to be announced at the beginning of the show which this week was Matt Mickiewicz, founder of and 99designs.  Matt has been an entrepreneur since high school, when he founded what was the precursor to Sitepoint. Haunted by a previous episode where Jason noted that no start ups come out of our northern neighbors made Jason backpedal as he welcomes the Canadian guest and mentions a few other Canadian companies proven to be worthy of praise as a start up including IStockphoto and RIM.

By moving the introduction of the weekly guest to the beginning of the show allows for the guest to participate in the beginning discussions. Starting this week’s show was an over view and a trailer for “We Live in Public” NY giveaway an upcoming Indy film that Jason plays part in and an offer from Jason to send some Mahalo swag in return for anyone in NYC that can check out the film.

“Ask Jason”, is the next segment of the show where Jason and the very quiet Matt fielded phone calls from entrepreneurs that seek advice from the two proven innovators. Before they take their first call the ever becoming more irritating, visitor produced “Insights from Tyler Jingle” comes blasting over my speakers and shifts the spotlight to Jason’s counterpart Tyler Crowley. In my opinion unless we are trying to build a drinking game out of the show, please give us a little less jingle and a little more of Tyler’s always genuine knowledge.

Jason takes his first caller from the 310 and proves that although Jason may be able to spit out population facts for Canada however he is not familiar with the Maryland area code that surround our capital city of the United States. The self admitted nervous caller asks Jason about the difficulty to launch hardware products as a start up and is provided with some great comments and guidance from the power duo. The following caller brings information about a new start up application that will allow users to produce and upload podcasts in a more efficient manner.

After an interview of this week’s guest, Jason introduces the next segment which is the newly created “Jason’s Shark Tank”, a parity of Sony Pictures new TV Series Shark Tank which premiered on ABC on August 17th, 2009.

The segment will allow entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their idea to Jason and his weekly guest with a chance that they might bite on their idea. This allows entrepreneurs an incredible opportunity not only to bring some capital into a newly formed operation but also have the involvement of a proven marketing genius that has a proven track record of successful start ups. I believe EcoGreenHotel is a great candidate to maneuver through the “Shark Infested Waters”.

Although this week’s pitch was not a fully baked concept to Jason or Matt, they did provide the caller with some great feedback and did not shut the door on the prospect of further investigation of the concept.

Jason shared his view on what an entrepreneur needs to possess to make them a viable candidate to survive his version of the Shark Tank. Being raised by a bartending father and a mother working hard in the nursing profession, Jason has a respect for hard working individuals. If you are a committed, hard working, self made operator that can turn a nickel into a dollar you may have a shot of making it past the Shark Tank. If you are a donkey that needs a dollar to make a nickel you better call ABC and try to get on that other show.

The news is the next segment of the show where Andrew Warner was brought to the table sitting in for Lon Harris. Andrew, Matt and Jason discussed the latest news topics including Apple’s Snow Leopard, NFL Banning Twitter, Yelp and more.

The homework segment sponsored by Audible and promoted with an Incredible Audible Deal, assigns guests a reading assignment the “Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezerich. This story of the founding of Facebook is a tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal and will give a lucky caller the chance to discuss the book with Jason next episode.

We are so close to wrapping up and I thought maybe just once we might just get through an entire episode without the mentioning of Jimmy “Fails” Wales but the Dead Pool segment prompts Jason to make sure that he mentions his rival for the Thirteenth episode in a row. Luckily for us it was only one time this episode!!!

I hope you all enjoyed a deeper look inside EcoGreenHotel and one of the tools we utilize to Support Hospitality Sustainability.

Take a look at the episode I have recapped by clicking on the link The thirteenth episode, I believe that no matter what you are working on this will be a significant tool for you.

Thank you for your time,

Scott Parisi                    President-EcoGreenHotel      

Another Green Lodging Certification Program in the Works! Enough already?

The buzz around Washington D.C. is that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is laying the groundwork for a federal green lodging certification program for U.S. hotels.

The EPA plans to roll out its sustainability guidelines by the end of the year, with the goal of giving facilities an outline of the standards necessary to win federal meeting and convention business in the future.

Is there a need for yet another green lodging certification program? Well, that depends. If the EPA’s program turns out to be a meaningful method for recognizing genuine accomplishments in sustainable lodging, then we’re all for it. But if it’s just another pay-to-play, rubber stamp mechanism for properties to drum up business on the ruse of operating a watered-down green lodge, then we’re wholeheartedly against it.

In other words, only time will tell if there’s really “room at the inn” for a new federal green lodging program. We’ll just have to see it before we can believe in it.

Indications are, however, that this program might actually be a worthwhile addition to the green lodging certification mix. An EPA spokesman said it will be modeled after excellent state-sponsored programs like the ones in Florida and California, and will eventually become as highly regarded and recognizable as the Energy Star ratings for appliances.

Plus, word on the street is that these new guidelines will eventually be the measure by which all federal agencies and departments will award their meeting and convention business in the future – along with price and past performance considerations, of course.

And one can’t help but wonder if a highly publicized, well-funded federal green hotel certification program will eclipse others of questionable quality – especially those in the pay-to-play arena.

So our recommendation is for hospitality properties to watch this process closely, and to plan to apply just as soon as the EPA opens the floodgates. There’s likely to be a stampede of facilities scrambling to align with the federal program and you want yours to be in front of the pack.

Are you satisfied with your facility’s sustainability program? Could your staff use some professional guidance in positioning your property to earn the upcoming federal certification? Send a message to today, and we’ll have you on the road to a meaningful green certification before you know it!

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