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World Vegetarian Awareness Month

September 30, 2010
Indian curry is real good.

Vegetarian Wellness Month is a great time to try new dishes. Image via Wikipedia

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, kicking off with World Vegetarian Day tomorrow, October1. Odds are, you already offer vegetarian or non-meat options on your restaurant’s menu. But have you considered highlighting them to make them easy to find for vegans or vegetarians?

There are three ways of making meatless dishes easy to locate on a menu: you can either set up a special separate menu for vegans and vegetarians that only includes these options, you can design your menu with a separate vegetarian section within the main menu, or you can simply highlight meatless dishes by printing them in green ink within your regular menu.

The third might be the best option. It clearly identifies meatless meals for vegetarians, and also leaves them up for consideration for omnivores. It’s likely that you have more vegetarian guests than you think, and they’ll love the extra consideration.

Take advantage of Vegetarian Awareness Month to add some new veggie dishes to your menu to showcase fruits and vegetables that are in season now.

World Wildlife Week

September 24, 2010
Mallard (Male), Burnaby Lake Regional Park

Mallard, Burnaby Lake Regional Park, BC, Canada. Image via Wikipedia

October 1-7 is World Wildlife Week. Celebrate this week by building awareness with your staff and guests on the importance of the preservation of wildlife. Start out by doing some research on local wildlife in your area. Is there a national or regional park or other natural or eco park nearby? They’ll have information to get you started.

If you live in a more urban area, start out with some online research. Even if you live in a large city, there are animals around. You might also look into what animal species were originally living in this area, but were displaced by urban growth.

Set up a table in reception with information on World Wildlife Week to inform your guests about local animals. Out of town guests will be interested to learn more about local wildlife and how their vacation choices can affect animals. Be sure to provide them with full information on how to choose eco tours that avoid disturbing local animals as much as possible.

You can go an extra step to do some good by searching for a reputable charity on a local or national level on Charity Navigator to donate a percentage of your company’s profit to help animals. Be sure to look at their Tips & Resources page for questions to ask charities before donating, and details to look for on the charity’s profile. Check out their Animals section, which has over 70 charities listed in Wildlife Conservation. You can also ask guests to join you in your donation when they book, or at check out.

World Vegetarian Day

September 22, 2010

Pumpkin soup can be made with either a chicken broth base, or a vegetarian base. It's easy to adapt regular recipes to a vegetarian lifestyle.

World Vegetarian Day was founded in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society, and was endorsed a year later by the International Vegetarian Union. The entire month of October is considered Vegetarian Awareness Month, and the official date for World Vegetarian Day kicks it all off on October 1.

Regardless of how you feel about vegetarianism, your hotel can still participate on this day. Offer a special vegetarian meal in the restaurant, or give a discount on vegetarian dishes on your regular menu. Consider hosting a special vegetarian cooking class featuring vegetarian versions of regional dishes for your guests.

Your and your guests don’t have to make a commitment to vegetarianism to participate, but a small change in diet for one day can be enlightening. Here are some ideas from the website:

  • Eat meat-free for the day or throughout the month
  • Learn how a vegetarian diet can benefit you personally
  • Try the meatless options available at local restaurants and eateries
  • Discuss vegetarianism with your interested friends, family and co-workers
  • Host a meatless meal or potluck for your friends
  • Eat meatless meals on a regular basis

What does vegetarianism have to do with being sustainable? Check out the environmental vegetarianism article on Wikipedia: “ Environmental vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism or veganism based on the indications that animal production, particularly by intensive agriculture is environmentally unstable. The primary environmental concerns with animal products are pollution and the use of resources such as fossil fuels, water, and land.”

Give it a try. You’ll probably learn something new or try new foods, and there’s no commitment involved. Have fun with it, and encourage your guests to do the same!

Green Consumer Day

September 21, 2010

Azulik, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mark your calendar for Green Consumer Day, held this year on Tuesday, September 28. This day was created with the intention of providing a time to think about our choices as a consumer and consider how they could be greener.

This is a great opportunity for your hotel. For many areas in the world, September is still the low season, so occupancy may not be optimal during this month. Consider offering a discount or a special package for guests who are planning on traveling to your area for the two week window surrounding September 28. Or put together an added value package, with breakfast or spa treatments added.

Greet your guests with a list of ways they can make their vacation greener, and tips on how they can continue their sustainable living once they return home.

Dual Flush Toilets, A Revelation

September 10, 2010

You know I’ve talked about them before. But did you know I’d never actually seen one? I live in Argentina, which is not the most eco-minded country in the world. And I’ve never once come across a dual-flush toilet in this country. So when I traveled to Italy last month, it actually took me a couple of days to figure out that my toilet was a dual-flush. Oops!

And the worst part is that I kept hitting the left-hand button because, well, I’m left handed. And then I stopped and noticed that there was a little drop on the right-hand button and a big drop on the left-hand button…and then it all came clear to me.

So I thought it was worth the time to post a photo of what a dual-flush toilet actually looks like, because sometimes we don’t bring our common sense along with us on a trip. Or at least, I don’t.

Happy eco travels!

Misha and Tom Are Free

September 9, 2010

Remember dolphins Misha and Tom (check out the comments on the post)? In case you hadn’t checked their Facebook page recently, I wanted to let you know that Misha and Tom were freed just three days ago on Monday, September 6. They are now in a temporary water-pen off the coast in Turkey and are undergoing a thorough medical review before being sent into rehabilitation after months in a contaminated, tiny swimming pool.

The Born Free Foundation has launched an appeal for £150,000 to pay for their rescue costs, care, rehabilitation, and return to the sea.  Donations can be made here. The minimum donation is £5.

Help Recycle 1 Million Pounds of Batteries By October

August 9, 2010

On July 21st of this year, Call2Recycle, the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in the US and Canada, launched MyCall2Recycle, an awareness campaign designed to educate consumers and businesses on the importance and ease of battery recycling. The goal is to collect one million pounds of rechargeable batteries between now and October 1 of this year.

How can you help? In addition to searching your home and office for batteries to send in, if your hotel or business is located in the US or Canada, you can sign up to collect rechargeable batteries and cell phones for recycling as part of Call2Recycle’s collection program, which accepts all cell phones and rechargeable batteries weighing less than 11 lbs/5 kg each. Single-use alkaline batteries are not accepted at this time.

Once your hotel, business, or office is signed up, Call2Recycle will send you a free collection kit, which includes: collection boxes with bags, pre-paid shipping labels (bulk shipping is also available), guidelines sheet with safety instructions, and marketing materials to inform others that your business recycles batteries and cell phones.

It’s also something you can add to your website and your confirmation email. Remind guests that you receive batteries for recycling, and they can bring them on their vacation to drop off at your hotel.

By joining this initiative, you will form part of almost 30,000 collection sites in the U.S. and Canada where people can drop off used batteries and cell phones. Call2Recycle has an easy zip code/postcal code locator as well as a consumer helpline, 877.2.RECYCLE (877.273.2925), for people to determine the nearest dropoff point to their home, which could be your business.

About Call2Recycle
Call2Recycle is the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in the US and Canada. Since 1994, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 55 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from local landfills and established a network of 30,000 recycling drop-off locations. Advancing green business practices and environmental sustainability, Call2Recycle is the most active voice promoting eco-safe reclamation and recycling of rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Call2Recycle is operated by the non-profit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC).

Learn more at call2recycle.org or 877.2.RECYCLE. You can also follow them on Twitter or through their Facebook fan page.

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