Sustainability means making it last. For Highline Adventures, this translates to honoring, enjoying, and preserving our favorite destinations. Our approach to sustainable tourism involves the things we do as a company, as well as the way we encourage our guests to interact with their environment. For our company, it means fully investing in the communities we draw visitors to. And for our guests, this means doing everything we can to foster a respectful relationship between them and the place they visit.
At Highline Adventures, we feel responsible for cultivating sustainable ways to travel and experience a new place. Sustainable tourism has two parts: social responsibility and environmental responsibility. Socially, we are focused on respecting and honoring the people and history of the place we draw travelers to. Environmentally, we want our company and our guests to have an awareness of the environmental impacts of travel, and actively seek to reduce that impact.
There are currently around 47,000 hotels across the U.S., each using up to 7,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day, equal to 5.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The average daily usage of a single hotel is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of driving a car for 13,158 miles. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the largest use of electricity in hotels and motels is lighting, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total electricity used. One of the best ways to reduce energy use from lighting is to install more efficient bulbs. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and can last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting, saving electricity while also reducing waste.
Do Your Part: Turn all lights off that are not being used in your hotel room, and make sure your lights are off each time you leave the room.
The hospitality industry produces millions of tons of waste each year, with an average of 2.5 pounds of trash per guest every day. One study found that hotels generate approximately one cubic yard, or 200 gallons, of waste per room in just one month. Fortunately, it is estimated that 50-60% of the total waste produced by hotels is recyclable, including food, office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles. Many of the largest sources of waste, such as single-use soaps and shampoos, can be eliminated by switching to refillable bottles, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic per year. However, these practices can’t completely solve the issue of waste. By reducing and recycling waste, guests can help the hotel industry divert trash from landfills and become more sustainable.
Do Your Part: Bring recyclable materials and storage on your trip, and place recyclable items into the available bins around the property when possible.
Not only do disposable plastic water bottles take up space in landfills and pollute our oceans, they also require a huge amount of fossil fuels to produce. According to one study, it takes 17 million barrels of oil to make one year’s supply of bottled water. This is the equivalent of fueling 1.3 million cars or powering 190,000 homes for a year. The industry creating single-use plastic bottles also releases 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Conversely, reusable water bottles are recyclable, save hundreds of dollars, and can reduce the strain on areas with limited water supplies where most bottled water comes from. That’s why we provide water bottle refill stations, so it’s easy for guests to fill their reusable water bottles.
Do Your Part: Help lower waste in landfills, reduce harmful chemicals such as BPA, and protect animals and the earth by bringing a reusable water bottle and using water bottle refill stations when possible.
Millions of trash can liners are disposed of every day in the United States. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into tiny toxic bits of microplastic. A plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down in the environment. In the meantime, these plastic particles contaminate waterways, eventually entering the food web when animals ingest them. By choosing not to use plastic trash can liners, Highline Adventures is doing its part to reduce the estimated 34 million tons of plastic that enter landfills every year in the U.S. alone.
Do Your Part: If you do stay in a hotel that uses plastic garbage can liners, you can help reduce waste by only using one of the trash cans. The unused can is generally left for the next guest.
Hotels are known to use a lot of energy, and traditional energy sources generally aren’t great for the environment. That’s why, over the last two years, Highline Adventures has been working to install solar power at its hotel properties. So far, one solar array has been able to offset approximately 40 percent of the property's previous energy impact. In 2019, the Livingston Travelodge used around 200,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity generated from fossil fuels. After the solar array was installed, that number dropped by 80,790 kWh in 2020, with the rest being offset by renewable solar power. With these encouraging results, Highline Adventures has continued to install solar arrays on other properties, working to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions that result from traditional power sources significantly. By the end of 2021, Highline Adventures hopes to have renewable solar power installed at 3 of their 4 hotels, and additional small arrays at some of the RV Parks.
Do Your Part: Look for lodging options that prioritize alternative energy sources. Ask hotels what they’re doing to offset their energy impact before you book.
At Highline Adventures, we seek to embrace and uplift our local communities. One way to do this is to support local artists and vendors. In our properties, we offer goods, books and artwork for sale from local artists and vendors. When possible, we also offer free space to local restauranteurs who need a place to park their food carts. We seek to hire local staff and offer them free housing when possible. We rally our staff to donate their time to volunteer for local non-profits and offer guests an opportunity to donate to our "cause of the month". Finally, we encourage all travelers to shop local, eat local, and seek out tours and experiences created by locals. By supporting the local economy, guests help to create a vibrant community full of opportunity. This also gives visitors a chance to experience something unique and memorable.
Do Your Part: Ask for local recommendations when you visit a new place and put your money back into the local economy.