Green in the Desert

Hotels are often referred to as “a home away from home” for their guests; but when guests arrive, they often shed the trappings of daily life to relax, recreate, and luxuriate in their new surroundings. This can result in some fairly unsustainable environmental practices. With the world facing a variety of crises in the areas of climate change, plastics pollution, habitat loss, and dwindling natural resources, the City of Palm Springs is working on a new program to encourage local hotels, vacation rentals, and related businesses to reduce their environmental footprint and do what they can to help the city and the world address key environmental challenges. Don’t wait, here are some things you can do now:

  1. Reduce plastics. Some hotels and hotel chains have already moved away from providing toiletries and soaps in individual plastic bottles and containers. The State of California is likely to pass a law that makes this a requirement. Moving to bulk product dispensers will save you money and will help save the planet. The City is exploring an incentive program to help businesses make this switch. The City is also developing a new city ordinance to limit the use of plastics in food ware. Those hotels with food service operations will be affected. We will be encouraging the move to reusable materials wherever possible and certified, fiber-based biodegradable materials where necessary. We will be holding study sessions on September 16th at 9 AM and 5 PM. Other things to consider include providing refillable water containers instead of plastic bottled water and eliminating K-Cups® for in-room coffee and tea.
  2. Reduce water use. Although the state may not be in a drought, we here in the desert live in a water-deficit environment and rely on out-of-state sources to make up this deficit. We need to always be on the lookout for opportunities to reduce water use. In addition to encouraging guests to not clean their sheets and towels daily, Desert Water Authority (DWA) has various programs that are available to help you make positive changes, including; low-flow toilet rebates for 10+ toilets, leak detection and pool filtration coupons, water assessment walkthroughs, turf removal rebates, and rebates for efficient sprinkler nozzles and smart controllers. Check out DWA’s website for more information.
  3. Choose renewable energy options. If you have not already taken advantage of incentives and installed solar panels on your property, you will have the chance to acquire 100% carbon-free energy when the City of Palm Springs switches to the Desert Community Energy (DCE) Community Choice Aggregation program. The move from your current power provider, Southern California Energy, will happen automatically and all you have to do is continue on with DCE at the 100% carbon-free default option. This switch will happen in the Fall of 2020 and is a great way to have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions. DCE will be conducting an extensive outreach campaign next year. Check out the DCE website for general information about the program.
  4. Reduce food waste and manage your organics. The State of California is expected to pass sweeping regulations for organic waste management this year. It will require cities to offer various programs to help divert organic materials such as food waste, landscaping waste, and compostable packaging from landfills. You can do your part by attending the upcoming food waste reduction workshop on September 24th at the Hilton. Businesses that generate more than 4 cubic yards of food waste each week are already required to subscribe to an organics waste management service. If you think you meet this threshold or want to know more, please contact Palm Springs Disposal Services for more information (760-327-1351 ext 322).