Wed, Dec 26, 2007 - Page 2 News List

EPA launches campaign to promote 'green hotels'

REDUCING WASTE An official from Westin said that the hotels would cease to offer disposable products such as toothbrushes and razors in its guest rooms

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Next time you check into a hotel, remember to pack your own toothbrush and comb to help protect the planet, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The EPA issued the call during a press conference promoting "green hotels" -- those with reduced energy consumption and waste.

"The average mid-sized hotel [from 150 to 500 rooms] consumes more disposable personal care products in a week than 100 families in a year," said Yang Ching-shi (楊慶熙), director-general of the EPA's department of supervision evaluation and dispute resolution. "By providing no disposable personal products, hotels can effectively reduce their garbage by at least 20 percent."

The definition of a "green hotel," however, does not stop at discontinuing the provision of plastic shower caps or disposable razors. Citing a 2001 study, Yang said that at 902 liters, water consumption per person per day was three times the domestic usage.

"Take for example the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel in the US, which received a Gold Rating for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the US Green Building Council," Yang said.

"The environmentally friendly hotel, run by Taiwanese-American Chang Wen-i (張文毅), is built with recycled material, has only water-conserving faucets and toilets, is partially solar-powered and only changes sheets and towels upon request," he said. "Being green allows hotels to reduce operating costs while helping to save the environment."

In Taiwan, Leofoo Development Co (六福開發), which operates the Westin Taipei and the Leofoo Hotel, has announced that it will participate in the green hotel campaign starting on Jan. 1.

The hotels will cease to offer disposable products such as toothbrushes and razors in guest rooms, Westin marketing communications assistant manager Fennie Kuo (郭竹芬) said at the press conference.

"In addition, we will provide shampoo and conditioner with a free travel pack so that guests can take them away after they check out. We hope this will help promote the concept of bringing your own personal products on trips."

Yang said that more than 80 percent of hotels had responded positively in a questionnaire in which they were asked if they would participate in the campaign.

"As such, the administration will establish certification guidelines next year," Yang said.

"Hotels can voluntarily apply for the certification and customers who wish to frequent environmentally friendly hotels can use [this certification] as a reference," he said.

The administration is hosting a poll to select the nation's top-10 green hotels, Yang said.

People can nominate hotels and vote online at www.buygreentw.net through Jan. 15, where they could win prizes including an energy-friendly portable computers, he said.

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