Monday, September 24, 2012

Sustainability Efforts - Help us stay Green!

Although the temperatures in Chicago may quickly be dropping our sustainability efforts certainly are not. HI-Chicago is running in full gear when it comes to making this an eco-friendly hostel.  Our goals are to “be ecological, be economical, and to be social” as established in the 2010 HI Sustainability Charter. Thus, we are making a conscious effort to implement strategies that will aid in the preservation of our natural environment not only in a cost effective manner but also in one that will allow for community participation. Autumn is now officially here and leaves will soon change into many beautiful vibrant colors. The change in season however, is no reason for us to become any less eco-friendly! We need YOUR help to continue becoming increasingly GREEN!

We will now be posting blogs regularly regarding our sustainability efforts. To start of, this week you can find an overview of what we have accomplished thus far. Our sustainability strategies include an effort to:

  • Reduce Solid Waste
    • Reduce consumption - Paper usage reduced
    • Reuse - Re-usable products available in the kitchen and for breakfast
    • Recycle - We recycle aluminum, glass, paper, plastic and cardboard
  • Conserve Water
    • Low flow faucets/aerators and low flow shower heads have been installed
    • Repair all leaks and drips immediately
  • Conserve Energy
    • A variety of energy efficient appliances are used
    • Energy efficient lighting has been installed
      • CFL Lightbulbs
      • LED lights
      • Light sensors
  • Use Environmentally Friendly Products/Habits
    • All purpose, non toxic household cleaning products are used
    • Eco-friendly maintenance products are used such as Low VOC paint
    • Use paper products made from post-consumer recycled paper
  • Reach out to the Community
    • Provide hostellers with information regarding the local environment and environmentally friendly activities around the city

Our next project includes the installation of the EZH2O water fountain which will allow guests to easily refill reusable water bottles instead of purchasing bottled water. This is being done in an effort to encourage our guests and staff to use reusable water bottles, thereby aiding them in saving money, and reducing the production of additional unnecessary waste. This effort will hopefully be accompanied by the availability of new reusable water bottles for our guests! Please let us know if you would use a plastic water bottle or an aluminum canteen water bottle! Would $5 be a price that you would be willing to pay considering that you would receive your money’s worth back after filling it only 5 times (a bottle of water costs about $1).

Although the progress made is already very significant, there remains much room for improvement! As we develop sustainability programs and train staff on how to assist in the sustainability efforts by doing their part, we ask that you do YOUR part as well!

In particular, we are curious regarding recycling efforts! Do you recycle regularly? Did you continue these habits while staying at the hostel? Let us know why or why not!

Please provide us with feedback on what we have accomplished thus far! We are excited to hear about any ideas that you may have on additional sustainability strategies that we can implement.

Go to for current updates on sustainability efforts made by Hostelling International.

For more specific updates on HI-Chicago check this blog every Monday! Or go to

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