I just returned from some grown-up fun in NYC… the Big Apple! This time it was me and my husband only! Amazing how simple life can be without kids in tow. While neither of us like to leave our kids behind, it’s great to reconnect with your beloved!
We had a fantastic time and were conscious to keep the towels hung in the hotel (so they didn’t get a daily laundering), turn off lights and all that other good stuff, but it’s hard to feel like trekking around the city isn’t making a huge environmental impact.
We walked A LOT but I’m sure we took far too many cabs because (despite our many, many trips) we have never mastered their subway system. So this led me to wonder, just how green in NYC?
I was surprised to learn that some recent research actually lists the Big Apple as #2 for the least wasteful cities in the US. Problem is, this research was based on residents which total about 8.5 million. But how many tourists visit the city each year?… 47 million. Mind boggling! That’s a lot of extra people creating trash.
While I did see some recycling receptacles around the city (one for cans & bottles and one for newspapers & magazines), they were still somewhat few and far between. Even staying at the Hilton in Midtown didn’t provide much help (but I give them credit for all the CFLs!). This time I didn’t cart a million things home because we ate in restaurants and didn’t make our own food, nor did we buy from street vendors and have a lot of disposable items, so aside from our addiction to cabs, we kept it fairly green.
Where did the other big cities rank? As usual San Francisco stands proudly at #1. But I still feel like most tourist cities aren’t doing all they can to see that their visitors have the proper resources to continue their green ways while contributing to local economies.
Aside from using public transportation or walking, keeping it green in your hotel room, and foregoing lots of disposables, what’s a traveler to do? Don’t get me wrong… I (still) love NY, but unless I get elected Mayor in each of these cities, I have absolutely no idea!