Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eco Wins & Eco Losses: Hotel Style

A week or so ago we did a pre-Valentine's Day get away to a cute town not far away, rich with quirky
shops and fun meanderings, in and out.

Kids and dog at grandparent's house. Check.

Just the two of us, and clearly from the giddiness I carried with me, it's been far too long since I've been "away."   I was please as punch with both a comfy room, a hotel with a pool & hot tub, a darn tasty breakfast, and a nice little street fair to boot. Yes, a nice get away, indeed!

Heading back to the breakfast, I was impressed with the plates, cups, & bowls with their "Sustainable Forestry Initiative" logos, and message stamped on each one saying that they were recyclable. Superb! Just how it should be!


I noticed that on the buffet (right next door to the plates) there was a bowl of individually-wrapped apples. Wrapped in plastic, 1 for 1. Ack?!!! Apples have a natural packaging! It's called skin!! Which caused me to ponder: "Do we seriously live in a world that's so germaphobe/clean-a-phobe that we need to individually wrap apples in plastic wrap?!"

I guess so.

Insert huge sigh here.

Unfortunately from here, the cosmic eco-miss continued. In this hotel, dedicated enough to advertise on logo-ed plates that they care for our planet enough to provide sustainable paper-ware, I was struck by the fact that there was one receptacle in the dining area. Well, two really, though two identical ones. Ones that looked far more like a traditional trash can than any sort of environmentally-friendly recycle bin. Long live co-mingling food scraps and recyclable products (she says sarcastically).

So, as I bid my plastic-ware, recyclable plates, and food scraps into the abyss of the trash bin, I bid a welcome to my wares to a long life in their future new home--the ever-lasting "sustainable" landfill.

Another mega sigh.

The irony: the weekend we were away is the weekend of my annual eco-mecca.  It's the equivalent my Superbowl.  The annual environmental conference at MAEOE (= Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education). For the first time in 7 years, I was not there. And while I was certainly having a delightful weekend away with my husband, I found myself pondering: "Why are we still here, in 2016?  Why am I writing about plastic wrapped apples, 5.5 years after I've written about that all before? When will we figure out that plastic wrap is a terrible drain on a non-renewable resource. When are we going to realize, as a society, that there is no "away?" Why do we keep throwing it all away... and when will we ever learn?

Increasingly, I'm worried that the answer to that question is, "When it's too late."

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