Marriott Makes Meetings Green

Marriott has launched a comprehensive effort to green the meetings held at its Marriott, JW Marriott and Renaissance properties. The rationale for the program is compelling: According to Marriott, an average three-day meeting at one of its hotels attended by 1,000 people produces more than 12 tons of trash, uses 200,000 kilowatts of power and consumes 100,000 gallons of water.

To help alleviate that ecological load, the company introduced a series of meeting products it says will help guests and meeting planners reduce their environmental impact. The products and services include:

  • 100-percent post-consumer fiber writing pads;

  • New biodegradable pens from Bic made from recycled content;

  • Access to recycling containers in or near meeting rooms;

  • Meeting rooms set with water service in pitchers or coolers, rather than plastic bottles;

  • Boxed-lunch containers made of recycled materials, including biodegradable cutlery kits and napkins;

  • Organic, sustainable and natural food and beverage options in many hotels to include Fair Trade teas and meeting room chocolate options;

  • Organic flower options;

  • Linen-less banquet buffet tables made from 49-percent recycled aluminum that are 99-percent recyclable;

  • Safe-to-donate food given to America's Second Harvest network of food banks.

While the announcement “is just the beginning of an evolving program to add green products and services,” Marriott's Vice President of Event Management Bruno Lunghi says the most important element of the strategy is “engagement of our associates.” As part of the roll-out, event and sales managers at each property will be trained in what makes a meeting environmentally friendly.

Marriott's pedigree as an eco-aware business stretches back several years. The company says it has replaced more than 450,000 lightbulbs with fluorescent lighting and installed 400,000 low-flow showerheads and toilets. In addition, it uses two million gallons of low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint each year and is adding one million room-ready bath towels that don't require washing before using for the first time. That move alone will save six million gallons of water annually.

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