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Did you know that August is Water Quality Month? Water is the source of all life on Earth, it is one of the major factors that make our planet unique. Humankind is in a position to impact this precious resource; the nature of the impact, positive or negative, is ultimately up to us. Here are 10 tips that will help you preserve water quality and shift to a sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Avoid anti-bacterial soaps because these contain ingredients, such as triclosan, that do more harm than good. Regular soaps aren’t as bad, but the detergents in them can disrupt the water’s surface tension, and the soapy residue that seeps into a water source can promote algae growth. Try using biodegradable soap and shampoo, they have the least negative environmental impact. If you can’t find something that suits you, try DIY!
  2. Always remember to turn off the tap when not in use. Don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth!
  3. Install low flow shower heads and opt for taking showers instead of baths.
  4. Use non-toxic cleaning products in the kitchen, regular cleaners contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), these are surfactants that break down into more toxic compounds and do not easily biodegrade in soil and water. They also contain phosphates, which promote undesirable algal growth in water.
  5. Dispose of food waste in an organic waste bin instead of dumping it down the kitchen sink.
  6. Spruce up your car by taking it to a car wash instead of hosing it down yourself. The professionals flush down chemicals into the sewer as opposed to the storm drain.
  7. Instead of using chemical fertilisers/pesticides while gardening, use EMs They are better for your health and the environment.
  8. If you’re going camping, stay at least 200 ft away from water sources while washing and cleaning, keep this in mind even if you’re using biodegradable products. (Check out our guide to having a sustainable outdoor adventure here.)
  9. Always pick up after your pets and dispose of their waste properly. Waste from pets, such as dogs, can mess up the pH balance of the soil. If the waste gets washed into a water body, it will negatively impact the marine life as well.
  10. Don’t dump medicine down the drain. This can pollute the water, expose marine life to harmful chemicals and end up back in our drinking water. Here are options for safe disposal.

Now you’re all set to be a custodian of water quality this month. Remember to spread the message to motivate your friends and family to dive in with you.

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The organic garden at the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif., where herbs will be planted for guests who opt out of housekeeping. Credit: Bardessono Hotel & Spa

Promoting sustainability, properties are offering food and beverage credits and other perks for guests who forgo housekeeping services.

The question came at check-in: Did I want to forgo housekeeping for the two days I was staying at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in exchange for a $10 a day food and beverage credit?

Huh?

The clerk repeated himself. Some guests, he explained, didn’t want to be bothered during their stay — hangovers and all that. So last summer the Flamingo, along with nearly all of its sister properties in Vegas (it is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment), decided to give people the chance to decline having their rooms cleaned in exchange for a voucher.

Read the full article on eradicating housekeeping for a better environment, and for a better hotel’s bottom line here.

By Abby Ellin for The New York Times.

 

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