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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Greenwashing or Green Cleaning?

I encountered something new upon checking in at Westin in downtown Denver recently. The front desk agent offered 500 Starwood Preferred Guest points per night for every night I opted out of room cleaning. The agent remarked that this was for the purposes of being green, and, environmentalist that I am, I opted in.

But after a few days of the program, I came to sense that the “Green Cleaning” program was more about saving money on housekeeping than it was on saving the environment.  After all, I was still using the same amount of towels and bathroom amenities (although I had to call housekeeping whenever I needed to exchange dirty towels for clean ones, or to restock soaps, lotions and potions).

The Westin is the building on the left.
But that is just one part of the quibble. My main beef is that if this 430-room hotel is so worried about the environment, why is it dispensing plastic water bottles right and left? Now, I applaud the hotel for providing unlimited free water, to guests especially given the dry climate of Denver. But personally, I went through at least six bottles of water a day (and yes, don't rag on me for not putting tap water in a refillable bottle).  Assuming most guests are not water guzzlers like me, let’s say that the average is three bottles of water per day per guest.  Let’s say the hotel runs at 80 percent occupancy, with each room housing 1.5 guests per day.

Here's the math: 324 rooms (80 percent occupancy) times 1.5 guests = 488 times 3 bottles of water a day = 1464 bottles of water a day.

If the Westin is seriously concerned about green, perhaps, instead of offering guests to opt out of housekeeping, it should instead install water dispensers on each floor, and provide its SPG members with a free water container upon check-in.

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