Some hotels, inns and spas are touting their eco-friendly accommodations and activities, and you can do the same when entertaining your guests.
It's possible to pamper them from their heads to their toes, all with environmentally friendly and organic linens, toiletries, accessories and furniture. And who knows? It might inspire them to do the same.
"Maybe they like the idea and incorporate that when they get home," says Bradley Bongiovanni, a naturopathic doctor with Wholistic Medicine Specialists of Atlanta.
Here are five ideas of how to go green for your guests and items to consider buying that you likely will find at national chains, boutiques and local farmers markets.
1) Come clean.
Prepping for guests usually involves a good dusting, straightening up, vacuuming and sweeping. Try out some of the many environmentally friendly cleaners on the market. Consider purchasing those with nonprofit Green Seal certification and listed at greenseal.org. The Simple Green Naturals line received certification in spring 2009 for five of its products —Multi-Surface Care, Glass & Surface Care, Bathroom Cleaner, Floor Care and Dilutable Concentrated Cleaner (sold at simplegreen.com and at most major retailers). Cleaning products by Office Depot and Ace Hardware also have been certified.
2) Accessorize with a focus.
Bathroom accessories are going to be used by guests and don't need to be ignored. Look for everything down to the soap holder to be made from environmentally friendly materials. The Container Store's sleek EcoGen line, for example, is made from biodegradable materials and has toothbrush holders, soap dish, pumps and other items for less than $15 each. Target is paying attention to the desire to live green, with affordable bamboo bath collections among the choices.
3) Make up the bed.
Sustainable bedding has a growing sense of style and comfort. Organic sheets, pillowcases, comforters, quilts and duvets boast low-impact dyes, getting rid of the sheet smell that some sets give off. Companies like Oregon-based Plover Organic, which sells online and in about 20 states, makes sustainable 100 percent organic cotton linens in cute prints. For a greater investment, there's the option of organic mattresses, with California-based LifeKind the first to be certified by the GreenGuard Environmental Institute.
4) Find a fragrance.
Soaps and candles add a soothing scent to a room and also show off environmentally friendly products. Look for locally made soaps and candles. Georgia-based Hazelbrand Farm makes bar soaps from organic ingredients in a variety of fragrances and priced from $6-$6.50. The invigorating peppermint sage soap is a favorite at Eco Bella, an organic lifestyle boutique in Atlanta. Some companies are incorporating organic candles into their product lineup or creating special edition ones, such as Aveda's "Light the Way" candle made with organic lavender (proceeds from the sale in spring 2009 were going to the Global Greengrants Fund to protect clean water around the world).
5) Dry off organically.
Many department stores and stylish chains are offering organic towels, washcloths and bath mats in a variety of prices, and they're often included in sales (Macy's Haven by Hotel Collection "Purely Organic" line was half off this spring). You'll want to check out the absorbency and plushness of organic towels, which are factors in some buying decisions. Colors and style don't disappoint, either, whether you're looking for the boldness of Pottery Barn's striped or floral organic bath towels and shower curtain or Nandina's organic cotton and bamboo bath sheets, pool towels and standard towels.
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