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Proper Green: How to Host Guests That Could Be Greener

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House guests can add to the merriment of the holiday, but can also add to your household carbon footprint. Get your guests to follow the eco-friendly rules of your home.
Dear Proper Green,

We're offering up our guest bedroom for family this holiday season, some of whom will be staying for a full week. How do I get them to follow our house rules — which include recycling ALL recyclables, composting leftovers, and turning off lights when not in use — without coming across like a strict hostess? I want them to respect my wishes and the environment!

-Lights Off

Dear Lights Off,

It's all in the delivery! Here's an idea from a house I visited once – create a quick one or two page guidebook for their stay. Give them a list of your house rules, along with fun facts about why it's important to recycle or turn the lights out. They'll be less likely to see your rules as chores if they understand the impact their actions can have. For instance, if one of your rules is to recycle all soda cans, use this tidbit: "Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours!"

Along with your house rules, include helpful tips for any out-of-towner. Make this guidebook something they'll continue to look to as a resource during their stay by listing some of your neighborhood favorites. From restaurants, to top shops, to other local activities, include addresses and small blurbs on why these spots are your go-tos. Then, use this guidebook over and over for all of your house guests.

Providing good, important information in a digestible and fun format is a great way to get your family onboard with your eco-rules!

Recyclebankers: How have you gotten visitors to abide by your green rules? Share your own thoughts in the comments below!

About Proper Green

Proper Green is all about good manners in a green world. Ideas about what constitutes proper behavior within the green movement are still evolving; we aim to help smooth the way, so you can lead a greener life and so we can all be respectful of all shades of green. Good manners, like our planet, need care, attention, and dedication. Proper Green is here to help and inspire!

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

  • Terri D. 5 years ago
    good information
  • Susan S. 5 years ago
    I 've told my guests how we keep things "green" at our house, and they have been very obliging about helping us out as most of them already do this at their homes. I've never thought of coming up with a handbook to give them and might try this in the future.
  • susna c. 5 years ago
    most people recycle now days anyway
  • b h. 5 years ago
    guide book--great idea
  • Margaret S. 5 years ago
    I would never speak in such a condescending way to my guests. How rude to hand someone a rulebook for staying in your home!

    Recycling is easy; just tell people where to put their recyclables. Most people ask anyway. Works the same for composting. If someone leaves a light on in an unused room, just go turn it off.

    People who are that concerned about increasing their home's carbon footprint for a few days probably should direct potential guests to a hotel.
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