Friday, July 15, 2011

Going Green for a Vacation Rental or YOUR home


Cleaning Your Home:
Consider the products you or your housekeeper are using to clean your home. Did you know that on cleaning day the air pollution at your home could be up to 10 times worse than in busy cities? Best is to use eco-products or even make some of your own.

Typical household cleaners are petroleum based, which contain toxins. With all the major brands rushing to the shelves with their own environmentally-friendly labeled products, make sure that what you're buying is truly “eco” and not just a marketing tactic. You can quickly determine the recycled content and scan the packaging for a seal from a third party certification organization like Green Seal. If you can't use rags for cleaning, try to purchase 100% recycled paper towels. Also, double-check products with vague terms or sweeping claims like “natural” or “environmentally safe.”

Or, using a few simple and cheap ingredients, you can create your own products.

* Window cleaner: 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water. Add a drop of dish detergent to remove residue from previous glass cleaners.
* All-purpose cleaner: Castile soap (soap made from olive or vegetable oil) and water.
* Disinfectant: 1 tsp of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water.
* Oven cleaner: Baking soda mixed with water. (it needs to sit overnight)

Directions and Rules for a Vacation Rental
It might be a good idea to send some general environmental guidelines to guests with directions. Or simply post them with other information at the home. For example, you could provide instructions for recycling or where to throw out organic trash that can be used for composting. You might want to talk about ways to keep the wildlife healthy in your area, like reminding renters not to go near dolphins if you are on the beach. Without going overboard and micro-managing your guests' stay, you can gently suggest ways to help the environment while they are on vacation.

Grilling and Eating
A favorite pastime is grilling out on the deck or patio. To be more environmentally conscious, use natural gas or propane for a cleaner burn. Avoid lighter fluid and charcoal.

When purchasing food to eat, keep in mind: seasonal, sustainable, organic, and local.

* Seasonal: Not only do seasonal products taste better when they are in season, but it is actually healthier for you and the environment. A typical meal travels 1500 miles from farm to fork, emitting a lot of greenhouse gases along the way. Eating “seasonally” will also help to keep local farmers in business. Fortunately many vacation properties are located in areas that have farmstands and farmer's markets. Highlight these in your guest handbook or directions so the renters can easily find them.
* Sustainable: Our salmon and shrimp supply, for example, is depleting. Suggest recommended fish in your area.
* Organic: This has become a popular buzz word, but some people are confused by the definition. This means that what you're eating is simply food grown without chemical pesticides. Again, this is better for us and for the planet and can be supplied by some local farmers. Point your renters to local grocery stores and food stands that carry organic food and products.
* Local: Help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing locally. Chances are the renters will also like the authentic experience of purchasing local foods from the towns they are visiting.

Enjoying the Water
Renters might want to experience all that their vacation home and destination have to offer. However, being unfamiliar with the area, they might not be aware of how their actions could affect the environment. Here are a few more tips to offer if you are on or near a lake or ocean.

* Sunscreen: Sunscreens have parabens that are absorbed into the skin and can be hormone-altering. When we go into lakes with these products on our skin, the marine life can be affected (scientists have seen evidence of gender bending.) Zinc products sit on the skin and repel water. Plus there are clear zinc products nowadays — no more white strip down your nose like in the "olden" days!
* Soaps and shampoos: Some people might want to get back to nature by bathing in a nearby lake. However, using soaps and shampoos in the water is not healthy for our planet. They need soil to be truly biodegradable, so it is best to stick to the showers. You can even provide eco-friendly soaps and shampoos for your guests to use as an added touch.

If you have a vacation rental, remember to suggest these tips gently, though, so as not to be overbearing. If the renter sees your concern and care for the environment without taking control of their vacation, they should be happy to comply.

1 comment:

Yvonne Kirby said...

Thank you for sharing about this information. That's nice and interesting, I like it.
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