Over 16,000 people will be descending for the annual ISSA Convention. The event will be filled with great educational sessions, meetings between vendors and buyers, introductions of exciting new products and programs, and just plain fun.See the source image

However, with an event this big, we also have a significant environmental footprint. There are several easy and fun ways for us to tread a bit more lightly. Among these are the following:

At Your Hotel

HVAC. The temperature in Las Vegas in mid-November is mild. When leaving your hotel room, turn the HVAC off. At night, it will only takes about 15 minutes to heat or cool the room. No need to waste energy while the room is unoccupied.

Electricity. Many people believe that Las Vegas gets “clean” power from the nearby Hoover Dam, when in fact, most comes from burning natural gas. So, upon leaving the room, make sure all electrical devices are turned off, including lights, televisions, radios, laptop computers, battery chargers.

Towels and linens. Hotels use approximately 25 gallons of water per day, per room for laundry operations requiring a huge amount of energy and water. Reusing towels and linens as much as you can help reduce both water and energy use.

Stop the drips. If a faucet drips just one drop every second, it will waste 5 gallons of water each day. Make sure to turn off faucets, showers, and bathtubs completely. If the problem requires a plumber, take a moment to call the front desk and let them know.

Eating and Drinking

Go local.  Consider going to a locally owned establishment where the profits are more likely to stay within the local community. And check-out the menus for local options for meats and produce, as well as beers, liquors and other beverages. Supporting local businesses is good for our communities.

Meat choices. Raising cows requires at least ten times more resources than chicken, poultry, dairy, or pork. Beef requires 28 times more land, six times more fertilizer, and 11 times more water compared to these other food sources. Further, beef processing produces up to five times more greenhouse gas emissions. Just keep this in mind. Also, if you have never tried a meatless burger, give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised how indistinguishable they are from beef with a much lower environmental footprint.

Don’t Waste Food. Some estimate that as much as 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted, representing approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. While this includes losses on the farm, processing, packaging, transportation, and from the table, a significant portion of it is what we don’t eat. Enjoy the dinners and parties but be conscientious about what you take.

At the Convention

Opt for electronic marketing materials. As much as two-thirds of the marketing handouts given at tradeshows are thrown away. These materials have significant environmental impacts from the paper on which they are printed, even if it is sustainably harvested and using green printing processes. Ask exhibitors to forward their information electronically.

Refillable water bottles. Select refillable water bottles. In the U.S., more than 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded every second. Let’s put an end to this waste.

Ask. Ask exhibitors what they are doing to reduce their environmental impact at the convention and in their business operations. The mere act of talking about sustainability sends a clear message that the cleaning industry cares and more importantly, is making great strides towards reducing waste and becoming a more sustainable industry.

Transportation in Las Vegas

Walk. Walk, especially if your hotel is close to the Convention Center. Not only is it better for your health and the environment, but it will eliminate waiting in lines for buses and cabs, and it will save money.

Bus. The Convention buses run every 15 or 20 minutes. No need to deal with Las Vegas traffic and parking when the buses are so convenient., plus they are free!

Monorail. The Monorail leaves every 4 to 8 minutes. It’s fast, convenient, and drops you off at the convention door.

Carbon Offsets. For those who really want to minimize or completely offset the carbon associated with travelling, transportation, and hotel stays, consider purchasing carbon offsets offered by numerous airlines and travel sites. The money typically goes to planting trees or other habitat restoration projects and new carbon offsets being developed.

Finally, when you leave your hotel, please remember to leave a gratuity for the housekeeping staff along with a note thanking them for keeping the room clean and healthy. Together we really can make a difference.

Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in Green cleaning and sustainability, and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC, for measuring and monitoring sustainability with the goal of protecting natural resources and reducing facility operating costs.  He is considered the “father of Green Cleaning,” is on the Board of the Green Sports Alliance, and has been inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame (IGIHOF).  He can be reached at steveashkin@ashkingroup.com 

 

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