A few tips on staying green even on your vacation this summer
June 2, 2009 at 6:24 PM CDT - Updated June 18 at 8:51 AM
Here are a few tips to help you have a greener vacation:
Turn the water off before you leave. You can do this with the main shut-off valve, which is located on the water meter. Turn in a clockwise direction until it is completely turned off. This will prevent the faucets from dripping, the icemaker from working and the toilets from running.
Use the luggage tags that came with your suitcase, or buy plastic ones. Many airlines use paper tags, which are not durable, meaning you have to fill one out every time you travel. This is a small hassle and creates a lot of unnecessary waste. Also, with plastic tags you can rest assured that they won't rip and leave you with out your suitcase.
Only pack the essentials. Extra weight in the trunk of your car or the cargo hold on the plane will decrease fuel efficiency. Gas mileage is decreased by two percent for ever 100 pounds in a vehicle.
Hold the post. Ask the post office to stop mail delivery while you are away, to avoid the cost and emissions created by transporting mail.
Skip paper tickets. Request e-tickets instead, which can be printed in black and white on recycled paper. Regular paper tickets are printed in colored ink on heavy paper. When printing your e-ticket, select the draft mode on your computer. Further reduce your impact by printing out your boarding pass at home.
Stick to the trails. Whether you are skiing or snorkeling, stay away from areas that are not marked off for visitors. Imposing on virgin land could disturb wildlife and damage ecosystems.
Request that your sheets and towels only be changed if they are on the floor. Most hotels have already started doing this, but ask at check-in just to be certain.
Ask the housekeeping staff to turn off the heat or air conditioning while you are not in your room. Monitor the thermostat in your hotel room. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you should treat the thermostat any differently. Set it just as you would at home, and adjust it accordingly.
Use a digital camera. A lot of waste is created in the manufacturing and processing of the 686 million rolls of film that are developed every year. Digital cameras allow you to see your picture, delete the ones you don't want, and only print out the ones you do. You can further increase the eco-friendlyness of your camera by using rechargeable batteries. By taking these few simple steps, you can ensure that your green ideals don't go on vacation when you do.