The Pioneers of Green Hotels
Eco-travel and Eco-tourism are two very widely used terms here in 2012, but it wasn’t always that way. The term eco-tourism first arose in the late 80’s as a term to describe vacations to undeveloped regions to explore nature. During the 90’s people started to take a new approach to the concept and by the end of the decade sustainable travel or eco-travel started to become a wish for environmentalists.
Here at Dispenser Amenities we got a few calls right at the beginning of the movement from hotels that wanted to take part in this new concept by, among other things, switching to shower dispenser systems to reduce waste from their amenity programs:
The Montreal Inn, located in Cape May, NJ was one of our first customers! Drew Pearson, who invented our first dispenser – the Classic Dispenser, met Montreal Inn owner Larry Hirsch in New York City 1996 and told him about the advantages of dispenser use for hotel guest amenities. Hirsch whose hotel had always been big on recycling told me he decided to invest in the dispensers because his hotel had to “throw away a lot of trash and plastic” at the time. He felt that practice was harmful to the environment as well as a financial burden. He made the switch to dispensers and never looked back. He told me an interesting story about how when AAA did a rating of his property after he had first gotten the dispensers, they had wanted him to take them out. He challenged them explaining that they were of environmental and economic benefit and not only did they agree by saying to keep the dispensers, but shortly after, the AAA began encouraging the use of dispensers by including them on their review check lists.
The Colony Hotel family includes, The Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport Maine and The Colony Hotel, Delray Beach Florida. Having both been our valued customers since 1997 for the Maine location and 1998 for the Florida location. They were some of the first hotels in their areas to make the decision to switch to a sustainable amenities program. Their Maine location contacted us in the middle of 1997, looking to help set an example for other hotels by reducing the amount of waste created by their hotel. We heard from the Delray Beach location shortly thereafter. Both locations belong to the Historic Hotels of America group and between them they have won countless awards; many of which are for their environmental initiatives:
In 1996, The Colony Hotel in both locations won the prestigious Green Business Award from Florida Atlantic University,
Colony Hotel, Delray Beach is the Founding member of the “Green” Hotels Association.
In 2001 The Colony Hotel in Kennebunk, Maine won the “Conservation Award”, Business Category, Kennebunk,
“Recycling Hero Award”, Maine Chamber and Business Alliance, 1998
“U.S. Backyard Wildlife Habitat”, National Wildlife Federation, 1997, (the only hotel in the Northeast to be so designated)
Best Western Plus Lamplighter Inn
Owner Sheldon Aaron has always regarded individually packaged small bottle amenity programs as wasteful. The Best Western Lamplighter Inn located in London, Canada was one of the first Canadian hotels to implement Dispensers throughout the property, in 1994. “It was the easiest of decisions,” says Mr. Aaron. “I just could never see how throwing away more liquid than what was used made any sense whatsoever! Dispenser Amenities provided a very simple, good-looking solution to the waste problem by eliminating all the individual packaging.”
The Lamplighter first installed white three-chamber Classic™ Dispensers which served the hotel well for well over 15 years. “When we did a property-wide rooms upgrade in 2011, it just made perfect sense again to upgrade the Dispensers,” says Mr. Aaron. This time they selected the Classic™ design again, but chose the Satin Nickel finish with Chrome Buttons.
Even with the more expensive finish, the ROI is measured in a few months. As Mr. Aaron states, “I just don’t understand why any property wouldn’t make the switch away from the wasteful, expensive little bottle approach to guest amenities. To me, it’s a no-brainer!”
In 1999 we were contacted by the Minto Suite Hotel. They had just undertaken a massive project to optimize their hotel to be environmentally friendly. They installed Dispensers in all of their 418 suites drastically reducing the amount of plastics sent to landfill and at the same time saving money on shipping. Even the 30 gallon drums which they have their bulk shower liquids shipped in are recycled and used for storage such as lost and found items, linen and small appliances.
Since then they have implemented countless eco-friendly techniques and policies such as composting organic waste, using environmentally friendly cleaning solution, collecting rainwater for the garden, motion controlled lighting, ultra low-flow toilets and showerheads…the list goes on. They are very proud to have several awards for their green initiatives:
A 5-Key Eco Rating from the Hotel Association of Canada
A 4 Green Leaf Eco Rating for Hotel form Audubon International
Boma Best Level 3
A 5 Green Key Eco Rating Program
Dispenser Amenities takes great pride in our involvement with all of the hotels mentioned in this article. We consider them all leaders and pioneers in the green hotel movement. They were right there as soon as we opened our doors and have since continued on in their life-long quest to rid the world of pollutants. Congratulations to all of you for your accomplishments and awards, we are so proud to have you as customers and friends.