Reduce your Carbon Footprint – Many people are increasingly concerned with their personal contribution to carbon emissions and try to live a green lifestyle, but what if you want to travel?
The following 12 tips will help you keep your carbon footprint as low as possible without disrupting your trip.
Tips to Reduce your Carbon Footprint when Traveling
Don’t Fly or Fly Smart
It may be quick and convenient, but flying is one of the worst carbon polluters.
So, if you can get to your destination without flying then you should certainly choose this option (especially, domestically).
Car, train, bus etc, are all less detrimental to the environment in most cases.
If in doubt, the BeFrugal website allows you to calculate the best mode of transport for your journey.
If there are several of you going by car, try to stick to the least amount of vehicles.
If you have to fly because you’re going overseas, consider purchasing a carbon offset if available or donate the equivalent to green programs.
There are now also eco-friendly flights and at the least, you should fly economy – which has the lowest environmental impact.
Furthermore, while it’s more expensive, direct flights have less of an impact than journeys that require stopping at multiple destinations.
Tip: Whether you’re traveling to Florida or Australia, travel can be expensive.
If you don’t have the money upfront, you might consider getting a small online loan to fund the trip.
Use Public Transport
As well as traveling to your destination, you should also consider your modes of transport once you arrive.
Subways, trains, trams, buses, and other mass public transport is more efficient than using taxis or single hire cars.
Many cities now also offer rented bicycles and if possible, it doesn’t hurt to walk.
If you want to see the sights, joining a tour with group travel is another good way to reduce your individual footprint.
This can range from a traditional bus to a group of Segways.
If you do your research before traveling, you might be surprised at the variety of transport options available.
Be an Ecotourist
Ecotourism isn’t just being green when traveling, but planning your whole trip around conservation and giving back to the community.
Tourist spots of natural beauty can be easily destroyed by excess tourism, so the idea is to have a low impact, a sensitivity to local communities, and to help the conservation effort.
You want to leave the place the same or better off than before you visited.
Essentially, ecotourism is tourism with the aim to help, not simply for your own pleasure.
If this sounds intriguing to you, there are several websites that have formal ecotourism destinations and programs.
Pack for a Purpose
Following on from point two, Pack for a Purpose is a charity that encourages you to bring products and supplies with you that will benefit your travel destination.
What’s more, these are tax deductible.
For example, if you want to go to Kenya, their website lists a series of affiliated ‘camps’ and their individual needs.
You might be asked to bring chalk, rucksacks, and other school supplies to help local children.
While not necessarily directly linked to your carbon footprint, you are helping the local community.
It’s common to choose your holiday destination based on the weather or how popular it is, but going when it’s quieter (off-season) is better for the planet and the local community.
It’s also more peaceful, which is what many people want from a vacation.
By avoiding the crowds you are reducing the impact that large amounts of people can have on the environment while propping up the local economy when there aren’t many tourists.
Like a lot of green habits, you’re setting the example for others.
Use Eco-Friendly Hotels
One way to lower your carbon footprint and encourage green behaviors is to only use eco-friendly hotels and resorts.
Glooby.com is a good hotel comparison site that includes eco options based on criteria from several reputable green groups and charities.
Use Common Sense
You can bring most of your green habits with you.
Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you should stop recycling or using a single water-bottle.
You should also seek out local restaurants and eateries that source local produce, instead of big international chains that might ship their produce over vast distances.
The Locavore app points you to local markets and seasonal produce, so you can do your own carbon-reduced cooking as well.
Don’t Abuse Hotel Resources and Services
Just because you’re at a hotel doesn’t mean you should be lazy with your resource consumption.
Turn the lights off, have quick showers, don’t abuse the laundry service, keep the thermostat low, and if you don’t need to, don’t get fresh towels or your room cleaned every day.
Treat it like your own home and you won’t go wrong.
Another tip is to leave the soaps and other so-called ‘complimentary’ items behind, so they can be used by another guest.
While camping isn’t always practical, if you can spend even just a few nights of your trip in a tent it will reduce your carbon footprint.
You can also opt for minimalist accommodation.
Think a self-catered hut by the beach instead of a 5-star hotel on the strip.
Limit Your Device Usage
You don’t always need to use your smartphone and other devices, especially when you’re on holiday.
Why not read a book on the beach instead of snapping for Instagram or scrolling Facebook?
This will conserve your battery and reduce the energy needed to charge it.
One benefit of using your devices is for digital documents and tickets. i.e., having tickets made and delivered to you has more of an impact than having everything on your phone.
Say No to Plastic
As well as using a reusable water bottle, also try to reuse your plastic bags.
Also, say no to plastic straws with your drinks and cocktails.
If you’re concerned about water quality and want to buy bottled water, instead bring a water filter with you or use a ‘Life Straw.’
Don’t Consume Energy in your Absence
You can also reduce your carbon footprint while traveling by leaving your home in an efficient state.
Unplug all electronic devices, turn off the thermostat, and lower the temperature or turn off the hot water tank.
There’s no need to waste energy when you aren’t even there.
Your bank balance will also thank you in the long run.
By following the above tips you can still travel the planet, but without significantly contributing to its downfall.
Do you travel green?
Let us know your own tips for reducing your carbon footprint in the comments below!
Living environmentally friendly during your stay abroad
Living environmentally friendly – You are moving abroad as a part of a study exchange program or an internship.
You will be enjoying your time living in a new city and discovering new places.
In order to also consider the environment, we have put together a list of things you should take into consideration if you want to live more environmentally friendly.
Ride a bike or walk
If you are lucky, you will live close to your university which means you can easily walk to your lectures and back home.
In case your place is a bit further away, you can still find an environmentally friendly way to commute.
How about buying a used bike?
They are typically very affordable.
Riding a bike is not only good for the environment, it is also good for your body and a great way to stay in shape.
It’s green travel at its finest!
Follow the 3Rs rule
Everyone that is at least a bit familiar with living environmentally friendly has probably already heard of the important 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Following it is a great way to eliminate waste and take care of the environment.
Reducing means using natural resources wisely and using less than usual.
Take fast showers to reduce the amount of water you use.
Say “no” to a bag while checking out at the store.
When dining in at a fast food restaurant, ask to have your meal without all the extra packaging.
Many come with bags and boxes even though you will just be taking our food from the counter to your table.
Also consider reusing things instead of throwing them away.
Remember to donate or to pass them on to others.
You can also re-purpose an item into something else.
Recycling is very important as it saves material and can help lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Be sure to learn which materials you are using and what is the proper way to dispose them.
Unplug the devices you do not use
Many times we do not even notice most of the devices in our home are plugged in even when we do not use them.
Did you know that many electronic devices, such as TV and chargers use energy even when they are not in use?
Unplugging them when you do not need them can reduce your carbon footprint and eliminate waste.
Pay attention to how much energy you use
There is no need to have a light on in every room if you are actually only in one place.
This technique will not only save energy, but will also allow you to save some extra money as the monthly bills will be lower.
Change the travel habits
While living abroad, you will probably travel a lot.
Try to make sure to use more environmentally friendly ways of traveling.
Choose to carpool when you travel somewhere.
This is a very cost efficient way of traveling as it reduces each person’s travel expenses and also reduces air pollution and carbon emissions.
Researching public transportation in advance is the best way to know your options so you can travel green.
Buy locally grown products
This is another easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Instead of buying products that were shipped from far away, buy locally grown products at the market.
You can even consider growing your own little “garden” by planting some of your favorite vegetables in pots.
This can even turn into a fun project you can engage in with your flatmates.
Eat local wherever you are.
Use second-hand products
The most tricky part about moving abroad is that you are never able to take everything with you.
That means you will still need many things when you arrive to a new city.
Instead of buying them, think of other practices you can use.
For example, consider visiting second-hand shops or online marketplaces where people sell things they no longer use.
The best thing about using second-hand items is they are usually cheaper than buying brand new ones.
Your tight student budget will also appreciate it!
Share your practices with others
If you really want to make a difference and live and travel sustainable, you should think about ways to inform others about your activities.
For example, you can tell your friends about practices you use to live more environmentally friendly and how much money you can save through it.
Who doesn’t like to have some extra money and help the environment at the same time?
Conscious Travel and the Decisions We Make
Conscious Travel: As I write this article, I have to tear myself away from the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam that is trained on the nest of two eagles in the process of laying and caring for their seasonal eggs.
What a fascinating and addicting display of nature that can be experienced without expending any of our precious resources on travel.
In fact, to travel to the scene of the nest would be a waste of resources because the best experience is delivered through the internet.
This leads me to think about how we travel for vacation.
There are a number of ways that we can eliminate wasting energy and being harmful to the environment when we vacation is Conscious Travel.
It takes a bit of consciousness to be aware of the decisions we can make that are environmentally friendly or at least neutral.
Life is full of choices. Every day we choose when to get out of bed, what we are going to have for lunch, and how to reply to an email.
Rarely do go off the beaten path into new territory; most days we stick to the routine.
But if we step back from the daily grind to reevaluate, odds are we’ll discover that there are better options out there.
It’s the little things – like if you stop eating oatmeal every morning, you might discover that you love bagels with cream cheese.
How to hunt for those genuine Ecotourism destinations?
Now, apply this to your travel life.
When you’re traveling you also have an infinite number of choices.
From where you’ll go for your next vacation to what restaurant you’ll try for dinner to which way you’ll stroll down the beach tonight.
When you’re making these choices, stop and think for a minute.
Consider all of your options and be conscious of the choices in front of you.
If you decide to eat at the local restaurant around the corner instead of the chain down the street, you might discover a new favorite food.
And you’ll make the greener choice by eating locally.
Even if you don’t make the more environmentally-conscious choice every time, at least you’ll have thought about it.
And consciousness is the key to change.
Green Car rental
My husband and I have made several trips overseas where we have not found the need to rent a car.
We have discovered that in some parts of Mexico and the Caribbean everything we need is within walking distance.
When we need to move further from our hotel or condo, we look into taking public transportation.
Not only does this help the pocketbook, it also eliminates the burning of gasoline and helps to tone our leg muscles.
Some Caribbean islands are so small you can see people walking with their luggage to and from the airports along the sidewalks.
Ideally, a backpacking trip starts at your front door, but when that is not feasible and you park a vehicle at a trail head to begin your trek, you are removing yourself from the ability to consume gasoline and electricity for as long as you are off the grid.
If a backpacking trip is included in vacation plans, consider a trek in a forest or wilderness area located in your residential or neighboring state.
Not only will this allow for more time on the trail, but will also cut back on the fuel consumed to reach your trekking destination.
Once my husband discovered that a multi-day rafting trip eliminated the need to carry a pack on his back, he was all about enjoying the outdoors on traversal rivers.
For some people, the thrill of running a river is in the rapids.
Whether you like a fast pace or a slow meander downstream, once again you have removed yourself from the ability to consume precious fuels and electricity while you are enjoying scenery most of us will never experience.
From staying in a four-star, all-inclusive resort to roughing it on the trail or the river, there are travel choices that we can make that are environmentally conscience and supportive of Conscious Travel.
The key here is to be aware of locations and alternatives that may not always be obviously presented when we research a journey.
Traveling Green For Your Environmentally Friendly Vacation
The pressure to behave in an environmentally responsible (traveling green) way has never been greater.
Ordinary people everywhere are now familiar with the damage an excessive carbon footprint can cause, and there is a growing impetus to be as environmentally-friendly as you possibly can be.
Traveling green, whether for business or pleasure, is one of the most direct ways you can reduce your personal impact on the environment, and there are a number of new destinations that are springing up as green alternatives for vacationers.
But what are the most effective ways of traveling green for a vacation that is a bit kinder to the planet?
One of the worst things you can do when you are traveling in a green way is to fly.
Air travel is one of the most carbon intensive ways to go.
Perhaps understandably, given the amount of fuel required to propel such a vast, heavy vehicle through mid air at 30,000 feet.
If you have to fly, you can wave goodbye to your eco-travel brownie points.
As compared to other forms of transport, flight has a much more aggressive emissions footprint per person.
This makes it irrelevant where you go, in terms of the damage you are causing to the planet.
Longer flights are worse, of course, but in general, flying is the least green way to travel.
This then makes it worth considering vacations closer to home.
Of course, the US is a vast country, spanning almost 3,000 miles from coast to coast, and promotional codes for Orbitz flights may come in handy.
Depending on where you live, trying to vacation locally is one of the best ways to cut down on your overall contribution to CO2 emissions.
Fortunately, there are many destinations across the mainland that are in themselves “green,” and an excellent choice for anyone who chooses to support the planet and the environment.
The iconic skyline of San Francisco hides the reality of this city, as one of the most forward thinking in the entire country.
San Francisco as a city is one of the pioneers of recycling, with some 80% of household and commercial waste now able to be reused, thanks to an effective policy of encouraging personal responsibility.
For those visiting the city, it is a breath of fresh air, quite literally, as compared to many other destinations around the country.
In a similar mold is Portland, Oregon, widely regarded as the capital of cool.
With over 200 miles of bike lanes crossing the city, Portland is leading the way on environmental issues, and is an active force for positive change across the wider US.
It also happens to be a great city to visit for a vacation.
Green travel is a growing issue, and one that more people are emphasizing each year when choosing vacation destinations.
Flying is one of the most damaging ways to go, with the associated carbon footprint much more significant than other forms of mass transport.
Instead, by looking to vacation closer to home, and to destinations with a particular green focus, it can be possible to offset the environmental damage by traveling green– without sacrificing a great vacation.
Sustainable Study Abroad Steps for an Experience
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience.
You meet new people, try new foods, and experience a new culture.
Best of all, you’re completely independent.
There are ways to make the most of it with these sustainable study abroad best practices.
As a temporary resident of your new country, you have a responsibility to leave it in the same condition it was in when you got there – if not better.
But don’t worry, traveling green isn’t as hard as it sounds.
These tips will help you make greener choices while you’re abroad so you can preserve the country for future generations to come.
Research Eco Programs
There are study abroad programs in environmental fields like sustainable development, conservation, and ecology.
If your university doesn’t offer any, look into schools that do, and see if you can apply as an independent student.
- Michigan State has an Environmental and Natural Resource Sustainability program in Israel.
- Middlebury College gives sustainable study abroad grants.
- Engineers for a Sustainable World offers various programs in sustainable development, technology, ecology, environment, conservation, and agriculture.
- The University of New Hampshire is partnering with the EcoQuest Education Foundation to promote sustainability in New Zealand.
- The School for Field Studies offers programs in environmental field studies in Costa Rica, Kenya, Turks and Caicos, Kenya, Mexico, and Australia.
- Kalamazoo College works with The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute to offer the People and the Environment program in Thailand.
- IIEPASSPORT’s study abroad directory lists over 50 programs in sustainable development.
- Living Routes lets you study abroad in Evovillages – defined as “ecological communities that provide ideal campuses for students to learn about real-world issues including sustainable development, green building, organic agriculture and women’s empowerment” – in conjunction with University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Don’t just stick to the city you’re in – get out and see the region.
You’ll have less of an impact traveling around while you’re overseas than you will if you head home, then go back later.
The fewer plane trips, the better for the environment.
Take Public Transportation
Some study abroad programs prohibit you from driving when you’re abroad, and you probably won’t have access to a car.
The good news is in most countries you won’t need one.
Just hop on the bus or subway to get to your farther-away destinations.
Sustainable study abroad can be achieved from simple things like taking the subway instead of a taxi.
Get Your Green Passport
Abroad View’s Green Passport is targeted at students studying abroad.
You’ll agree to reduce your environmental impact, respect the culture you’re living in, and participate in and give back to the community.
Abroad View magazine piloted the Green Passport program with Living Routes, Ithaca College, Middlebury College, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Get your school involved.
Live with a Family
Most programs offer the option to stay with a host family for all or part of your time abroad.
When you watch TV with your host family, you’ll use less energy than you would if you watched TV in your dorm room while they watched it at home.
Plus, you’ll learn more about the culture you’re living in by spending time with your host family.
Check Out Local Entertainment
Support the local economy by going to the museums, plays, ballets, and operas that you won’t find at home.
It’s easy to get caught up in study abroad life and put off the local entertainment until the end.
When you’ll either rush to cram everything in or not have a chance to do it at all.
Before you head to your host country, pick a few of the most interesting local attractions and prioritize seeing them throughout your trip.
When I went to St. Petersburg for a semester in college, I over packed.
I hauled things to Russia I never wore there, and things I’d never used before but thought I might need while I was abroad.
Not only was dragging around a 75 pound bag hard on my body, but it was hard on the environment.
It’s better to err on the side of too little; if it turns out you need something you left at home, you can buy it in your host country.
If you just can’t figure out how to lighten your load, check out our Ultimate Guide to Packing Light.
Buy a Bike
In cities from Hong Kong to The Hague, biking is a preferred means of transportation.
It’s environmentally-friendly, plus you see the city in a whole new light.
And you have the option of traveling outside the city and biking around the countryside.
You can rent a bike for the day, or if you want to buy a used one to use more often, try Craigslist in the area, or ask around about where to buy a used bike.
Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
This is a very easy way to practice sustainable study abroad.
According to the Earth Policy Institute, Americans consumed 26 billion of the global 154 billion liters of bottled water in 2004.
Bottled water creates a ton of waste, and it’s more expensive and less strictly regulated in the US than tap water.
Reduce your environment impact by avoiding bottled water altogether:
Bring a reusable water bottle.
Seeing a country by foot offers many advantages to seeing it any other way.
You’ll get to talk to locals, see sights you might miss on public transportation, and find authentic food and goods you might never have otherwise come across.
Cook in Your Dorm or Apartment
If you have a kitchen in your new home, use it.
You can still experience local food by picking up ingredients for regional dishes at the market and cooking local dishes yourself.
Plus, you’ll learn to cook new foods.
Eat with Your Host Family
Your host family’s probably already cooking for themselves, so join them when you can.
It will create less waste than eating out, and you’ll get to try authentic local food.
And with most programs your host family is given a stipend to feed you.
You’ll save money by dining with them.
Rather than heading to a chain grocery or department store, stop by the market or a street stand.
Supporting the local economy is good for the environment because the goods you’re buying don’t have to travel as far to get to you.
It’s not always easy to find restaurants that serve organic food, but you can usually find some that buy the ingredients for their meals locally.
And being a traveling locavore is even better than being a locavore at home because you get to try new foods from the region you’re in.
A great place to find locally-produced beverages is the local grocery store.
It will be less expensive ordering them in a restaurant.
Take Shorter Showers
Shower heads use about 2 gallons of water per minute – which means that a 15 minute shower uses 30 gallons of water.
If you were conscious about usage, you can probably shower in 5 minutes. Give it a try.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
These elementary school tenets hold true no matter where you are.
Always shoot to use less – reduce.
And if the country you’re in accommodates recycling, take advantage of it.
If not, think of new uses for products before tossing them.
This habit is the basis for sustainable study abroad.
Every country has at least one organization devoted to sustainable development, conservation, the environment, or a social issue you’re interested in.
Ask your professors, host family, and new friends about places to volunteer.
Turn Out the Lights
It’s easy to get lazy and forgetful when you’ve got a new country to explore, but something as simple as unplugging your laptop before you head out can save a lot of electricity.
So unplug appliances and turn off the lights when you are done using them.
Really, it is so easy to partake sustainable study abroad that once you make a few changes, you will find you are doing them habitually.
Make Yourself at Home
Spending a semester abroad is liberating.
It’s the first time you’re completely independent, with no parental interference.
It’s tempting to rebel against your parents by doing the things they’ve always told you not to do – leaving the lights on, cabbing to unknown parts of the city, and getting takeout every night.
While you’re establishing your independence, remember that by practicing sustainable study abroad, your actions have the same environmental impact as your actions at home.
Experience the Trip of a Lifetime with Sustainable Study Abroad
Be conscious of the choices you make while you’re abroad.
You will have an excellent time eating local food, drinking local drinks, and exploring local shows.
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to study abroad.
Make an even more positive experience with these 20 sustainable study abroad best practices.
Green wedding guide ~ the eco-friendly wedding of your dreams
The food was grown by the bride and groom, the toilets were composting, and the tableware was borrowed from friends.
Last weekend, I traveled to upstate New York and experienced first-hand a really nice and really green wedding.
In fact, I’ve never been to such an eco-friendly wedding or a green baby shower for that matter.
I’ve decided to share my newly gained knowledge with you in this, the ultimate guide to an environmentally-friendly wedding.
Not everyone will be able or willing to do everything in this list.
But hopefully you’ll find a few tips you hadn’t thought of for a project Eco-Friendly
Invitations & Thank You Cards: Make Your Own, Plantable, and/or Recycled
If you’re the crafty sort, consider creating [easyazon_link keywords=”green wedding invitations” locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]green wedding invitations[/easyazon_link] and thank you notes of your own design.
You can cut photos out of wedding magazines, use recycled paper, and write the wedding details by hand.
If you feel like you already have too much going on and making your own invitations could push you over the edge, not to worry.
There are some really cool plantable invitations and notes that bloom into wildflowers.
The eco-friendly wedding couple from New York used these for their invites, and invited guests to bring them to the wedding to plant them at the wedding site.
We had plantable thank you notes at our own attempt at having a green wedding and our friends thought they were great.
If those aren’t quite what you’d envisioned, check out these [easyazon_link identifier=”B006W93WWQ” locale=”US” tag=”gogreentravel-20″]recycled invitations[/easyazon_link].
They do away with the extra envelopes and random sheets of paper that often accompany wedding invites by making your invite and reply card out of one long piece of paper.
Sounds a bit weird at first, but there are lots of designs to choose from.
We used these and loved them.
RSVPs: Via Email, Website, or Phone
Eliminate the need for extra paper and shipping (which burns gas) by asking your guests to choose a lower-impact RSVP method.
Make it easy by giving them more than one option.
Think of the money you will save on stamps taking this eco-friendly measure.
Registry: At a Local Shop, Grocer or Donation to Non-Profit
We learned the hard way that if you register at a national store, you’ll receive an obscene amount of packaging with your gifts.
Fortunately, we were able to donate excess packaging to a friend who was moving.
But in general, it’s better to stick to a local store, local grocer or craft shop where you can pick up the gifts all at once, sans extra wrapping.
The eco-friendly wedding couple from last weekend registered at a local shop and also gave the option of contributing to the off-the-grid dream home they want to build.
We have been to weddings and other types of parties — retirement and birthdays — where they suggested donations to the local food bank, Humane Society and others.
Eco-friendly Wedding Dress: Reused
No need to spend a lot on a new wedding dress when you can find a perfectly good used one for less.
The eco-friendly bride last weekend had her mother’s dress altered into a sundress for her outdoor wedding.
Thrift stores, consignment shops, yard sales, Craigslist and Ebay are also great places to find used green wedding dresses.
This is such an easy way to have an earth-friendly wedding, and you will look great too.
Venue: Outside or Eco-Friendly
Have your ceremony and reception in a park, on a lake, or even on a farm.
The wedding last weekend was in the woods, with the reception just a few feet away.
If you opt for indoors, choose a hotel or other reception venue that has solid environmental practices.
We didn’t want to worry about Vancouver’s fickle weather for our reception, so we chose an eco-friendly Kimpton hotel.
Food: Grow Your Own or Get It Locally
If you’re lucky enough to have a place where you can grow your own food, go for it.
If not, make sure you buy from local farmers, bakers, and cake shops with sustainable practices.
You can even ask nearby friends and family members to contribute with veggies from their gardens or have someone pick them up for you from the farmer’s market.
Table Settings: Mix and Match
The bride and groom’s family and close friends brought plates and silverware from home, which were used the at reception.
After the wedding, they were washed and returned.
No need to rent plates from an expensive catering company.
If you have an artistically-inclined cousin, ask her/him to be your photographer.
Better yet, tap a few friends and family members to serve as photographers so you get lots of different perspectives.
If you go the professional photography route, make sure your photographer uses digital.
That way you only have to print the photos you want to keep.
Music: Live Band or Computer
Depending on the kind of music you like, you may not need the full-blown, electricity-sucking setups DJs often use.
Hook a computer up to speakers, or hire a live band.
You’ll even save money by skipping out on a pricey DJ.
Trash: Composted & Recycled
Composting your trash will be easier if your ceremony is on your own land, but it’s possible to find a venue that will accommodate you.
When you’re considering where to have your wedding and reception, inquire about their composting and recycling capacities.
Table Decorations: Reusable and Waste-Free
Try wildflowers in mason jars and local chocolates.
Guests can take the flowers home with them, and hopefully compost them when they die.
There are dozens of ways to reuse mason jars.
And who doesn’t enjoy seeing some delicious local chocolates at their table?
Favors: Local and Edible
As we were leaving the New York wedding, we picked up organic veggies and homemade jam from the favor table.
I can guarantee your guests will enjoy these sustainable wedding favors much more than they would an acrylic heart-shaped key chain with your wedding date on it or a heart-shaped picture frame.
Guest Accommodations: Camping or Bed & Breakfast
The eco-friendly wedding couple invited friends to camp on their land, which I thought was an excellent idea.
They also offered the names of some local B&B’s if not everyone was into camping.
If you don’t have land for friends to crash on, consider recommending some nearby campsites and hostels, in addition to bed and breakfasts.
Eco-friendly wedding idea that isn’t for everyone….
Bathroom: Homemade Composting Toilets
Green toilet? Ever gone to the restroom in a big plastic bucket with a toilet seat attached?
After last weekend, I have.
Step 1: Do your business.
Step 2: Dump some cedar shavings on top.
Step 3: It will compost within a year.
Quite simple, really.
Granted, this isn’t for everyone.
Even some of the greenest people I know wouldn’t be comfortable having these buckets as a reminder of their wedding guests a year later.
But if you have the space and the will, it’s a pretty cool idea.
Read on if you are interested in Living Off Grid
Easy green wedding ideas
There are easy ways to having a green wedding.
It is all about what works for you.
Most often, when you try to have an eco-friendly wedding, you will save money and support local businesses, and have a less-stressful and more enjoyable time overall.
It is easy to implement some earth-friendly wedding ideas, even if everything isn’t as green as possible.
Here are the top 5 ways gyms can go green
It seems like most industries have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon.
Everywhere you look, there are LEED certified hotels, museums and office buildings.
Companies of every type are looking for new and innovative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
We believe there are ways gyms can go green too.
There are many Benefits for Gyms who Go Green.
Deciding to go green provides numerous advantages.
First, there are the cost savings because running a greener facility dramatically reduces utility and water bills.
Second, new clients may be attracted to a greener way get in shape, and it may help retain existing customers.
Third, opting to go green may help attract first-rate employees who are willing to dedicate themselves over the long term to an eco-friendly company.
Finally, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your business is doing all it can to minimize its impact on the environment.
Get High Tech
Make the gym paper free.
Contracts, promotions and billing statements can all be done electronically.
Rather than publishing a monthly or quarterly paper newsletter, email one to your active customer list.
Establish the gym on Facebook and Twitter so members always know what’s going on, and send all bills via email.
Offer to send new member’s contracts to their email address as well.
It’s much easier to keep track of paperwork when it’s electronic.
It saves the gym operator quite a bit of money, and it’s eco-friendly.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting and Temperature Control
Whenever possible, opt to take advantage of natural light.
Skylights are not only an attractive addition, but the light they bring in to the facility is often brighter and more welcoming than artificial light.
Of course, light bulbs are still a necessity, so make certain to always choose the energy efficient kind.
Temperature control is important to the gym’s members and its employees.
Regulate it efficiently; change the filters often; and go green by keeping the heating and air conditioning system in tiptop shape and selecting energy star systems when it’s time to replace or upgrade a unit.
Use Water Sensibly
The water used by showers and toilets in the locker room can represent an enormous part of any gym’s operating budget and can be a great place to start to become more green.
Keep a lid on the expense by installing low-flow shower heads, low-flow faucets and low-flush toilets.
These innovative new models may reduce water usage by two and a half gallons per minute.
Choose Energy Friendly Equipment
Many manufacturers now produce a wide variety of cardio machines that don’t run on electricity.
They are powered by the user, resulting in a better workout and huge savings on energy bills.
Models that still run on electricity but are far more efficient than older versions are also available.
Thirst is an inevitable part of every visit to the gym.
Encourage members to choose reusable water bottles by giving one away with new memberships and offering frequent sales on new ones.
Refrain from stocking and selling water in plastic bottles, and offer some sort of incentive for members who routinely bring a reusable water bottle to the gym.
Make water accessible to your clients so they can refill their reusable water bottles while they are there.
Other Ways Gyms Can Go Green
There are so many simple ideas which will make a positive difference.
Easy ways gyms can go green include:
- If the facility isn’t open 24/7, the gym can turn off it’s interior lights and outdoor signage when closed to save electricity even further.
- Many gyms waive initial sign-up fees during special times of the year in exchange for a bag of food which the gym will donate to the local food bank.
- Other gyms find ways they can go green by supporting neighborhood causes and encouraging their members to get involved.
- Recycling bins should always be available for paper, plastic, and aluminum.
Using any of these ways to go green at the gym is a wonderful way to help the environment, save money, attract better employees, retain members and boost membership.
5 Ways to Let Your Gym Members Know You Care
Checkout these tips to make sure your members stay happy and stick around.
Share Your Knowledge
Your members are focused on health, wellness, and fitness, and lucky for them you’re an expert.
Try sharing the breadth of your knowledge about a variety of subjects through Newsletters, weekly blog posts (centering on a fitness theme) and free info sessions & seminars.
You want your customers to feel like you care about their interests and wellness, not that you’re trying to sell something.
Try and ask customers what facets of fitness they’d be interested in subscribing to an email list for!
Give Them a Good Deal
Your members want a value, and you should let them know you’re giving them one.
Use fair pricing and competitive rates…try a sliding scale for more affordability.
Give special perks, freebies or discounts as they progress
Connect and Communicate on a Personal Level
An essential aspect of showing customers your appreciation is connecting with them in a meaningful way.
This can be done lots of ways:
Ask, listen and implement
Consult your customers often about their experience and how it could be improved
Make sure unsatisfied customers feel that their complaint is taken seriously
On average, people tell 15 others about their positive customer service experience vs 24 others about the negative ones
Use Social Media: 50% of customers use Social Media to get an actual response from the company.
Hold a members-only event: Invite your members to enjoy the gym in a more recreational setting, and talk to them one-on-one.
Use phone calls or notes:
Quick check-up phone calls or handwritten thank-you notes to make customers feel appreciated
Motivate people to keep working out by sending opt-in reminder messages
79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.
When a business responded to a negative comment; 46% of consumers were pleased and 22% posted a positive comment about the organization.
Support the Community
A great way to show your members that you care is to benefit the community around you
Provide the Very Best Customer Service
Of course the best way to show your members that you care is though excellent customer service.
Health member relationships lead to better customer retention, business growth and a fun environment.
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