Going Green at MLA

by Elizabeth on May 7, 2013 · 2 comments

in blogging, conferences, librarianship, medical libraries

As previously mentioned, I’m currently at the yearly Medical Library Association conference in Boston.  I’m a conference blogger, blogging about early morning activities.  I’m cross-posting my blog posts here so you can see what I’m up to. 

recycle clipartOne of the things I enjoy most about MLA is getting to visit different cities.  I’ve been to three MLA conferences now and each has taken me to a city I’ve never been to before.  Each of these cities have been very far from my home state of Alabama, both geographically and culturally.

One of the things I noticed immediately about Boston that is extremely different is the focus on environmentalism.  Everywhere I turn there are various recycle bins.  Even my hotel room has a recycle bin, and only one trash can.  Perhaps this isn’t that unusual to you, but my hospital only recently (as in last month) started a recycle program.  They’ve placed various bins in heavily trafficked areas to collect paper, bottles, and cans.  Either they’re doing an excellent job in emptying the bins or no one is using them because they’re almost always empty.  I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter, as sad as that is.

I grew up in a home that recycled and do so in my home so I was extremely pleased to see that Boston has a strong recycling program and people seem to use it without even thinking.  I’m sure it took some time to get that way, so I can only hope that my large hospital will follow suit and stop tossing their water bottles in the trash.

Another great green thing I’ve seen involves housekeeping at the Sheraton.  When I arrived in my room, there was a door hang tag on my bed that invited me to refuse housekeeping service for a day in return for a $5 food credit at one of the restaurants in the hotel.  Since I travel alone and certainly don’t make that much of a mess, I was happy to take advantage of that twice during my stay.  Each $5 credit bought me breakfast at Starbucks and saved the housekeeper work, as well as saved resources usually spent on washing towels and sheets, and vacuuming.  This might be a usual practice at other Sheraton hotels, but it’s the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to completely refuse housekeeping service and I was delighted to be able to do so.  I would have done it without the incentive, but that was a nice bonus. 🙂

I’m glad there have been multiple opportunities to “go green” in Boston and at MLA.  I’m sure there are many other ways I’ve missed, so I hope you’ll share some in the comments. Perhaps we can find some ways to continue “going green” in Chicago!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine May 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I’m not even sure recycling pick up is available in my area. But I really need to look into other options. Diet Coke cans are definitely the biggest culprit at my house. But for water we mostly use reusable bottles. I even got a little present at work when the “green team” came through since they “caught” me using my reusable bottle at work! 😉

On the hotel note, I do remember staying at a hotel in the last couple years that gave me the opportunity to refuse housekeeping…and now that I think more about it, I think it was a Sheraton!


2 Elizabeth May 10, 2013 at 8:26 am

I think a lot of hotels do the “we won’t change your linen everyday” thing, but this was the first time I’ve ever gotten to refuse the service completely. I thought it was a great idea!


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