Green movement intentions less pure, but profitable

By SpencerRoush

While on vacation and staying in a luxurious hotel, I expect to feel pampered. Every night when I walk into my room, the bed should look unused with its fresh sheets tightly tucked in at each corner. In the bathroom, the towels should be perfectly aligned. Although it may seem superfluous, it’s even nice to see the first sheet of toilet paper delicately folded into a triangle.

Nowadays while I’m staying in a hotel, instead of feeling pampered, I feel guilt.

When I walk into my hotel room, all I see is a placard stating that due to a new policy, sheets and towels will only be changed and washed at the request of the guest.

After seeing a note from hotel management about placing a sign on the doorknob requesting the amenities guests previously received without asking, I immediately feel guilty for wanting these added pleasures while I’m vacationing.  So I continue to sleep in the dingy bed with unchanged linens.

Other people probably have a similar reaction. They don’t want to look like non-environmentally-conscious jerks either, so they never place the guilt-fraught hanger on the door for all hotel staff and guests to see and judge.

I understand washing bathroom towels and bed linens every day is something many people don’t do in their own households. However, isn’t having everything washed and fresh half of the enjoyment of staying at a hotel? It’s a relief to know the hotel beds are always clean and presentable awaiting the arrival of guests each night.

This placard also conveniently fails to mention that their new environmentally-conscious attitude saves them approximately $1.50 per occupied room each night, according to

While many hotels cite this new change in policy as a way to be greener, it seems like a convenient way for them to save some green. I think actually helping the Earth is just an added bonus.

If this is a wholesome attempt to help the Earth, hotels should offer recycling bins in  rooms or let guests be rewarded by billing them a slightly lower price for reusing their towels and sheets throughout their stay.

It’s unfair to say the hotel industry is the only one benefiting from the movement to “go green.” Some fitness clubs are also reusing towels because they claim it’s their way to help the environment. This seems to be a shared philosophy for many industries and businesses on environmental kicks.

The green movement is growing rapidly and there is a great deal of money to be made on various levels.  Organic food is highly regulated by the government, which includes costly organic certification processes for farmers. However, having the word “organic” printed on any food source means the price can be generously marked up.

Because becoming green is a top priority for many people, buying organic and eco-friendly products has become increasingly trendy and businesses are ready to supply the demand.

Coca-Cola is releasing a new biodegradable square bottle and Sun Chips is using new bags that deteriorate in 14 days using a hot, active compost system. Businesses continue to create eco-friendly materials because of society’s need to feel like it is doing its part to save the planet.

Using these new, environmentally conscious materials has become hip and anyone who is not working to lessen their carbon foot print or doesn’t wear a “be green” T-shirt may be subjected to judgment by those who flaunt their eco-friendliness.

According to, people seen drinking from plastic bottles are looked upon as harshly as a pregnant woman smoking a cigarette. It is worth considering to avoid plastic bottles and instead drinking from a reusable container. But it’s overkill to compare using a plastic bottle with smoking while pregnant.

Being environmentally conscious is one thing, but judging others because they don’t care about the Earth as much is another.

The green movement is the new fad and people and businesses continue to jump on the bandwagon, but is it really for the sake of the Earth or for more selfish reasons like looking trendy or saving businesses money? Either way, at least the planet is benefiting from people’s newfound respect for the environment.