WASHINGTON (October 16, 2012) — The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) recognizes the important contributions its members make to create a greener, more environmentally friendly world—from recycling soap to cleaning up coastlines to using “green” products in resorts. Companies like Marriott Vacation Club, Bluegreen Vacations, Grand Pacific Resort Management, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, and Interval International are leading the way to a cleaner, more environmentally-sound planet.
“It’s one thing to recycle at your resort or participate in a clean-up once in a while,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA. “But it’s quite another to develop and carry out the major initiatives that our members have done. It’s a real model for other industries.”
Marriott Vacation Club recently announced a partnership with “Clean the World,” a group that recycles partially used bars of soap and bottled amenities from resorts in the United States and distributes the new soap and hygiene kits to communities that lack access to these essential items. Each day 9,000 children around the world die from diseases such as acute respiratory illness and diarrheal diseases, which can be prevented by washing with soap.
Currently, Marriott Vacation Club resorts in the United States have contributed over 13,300 lbs. of soap and 8,840 lbs. of bottled amenities. As a result, more than 71,000 clean bars of soap and hygiene kits have been distributed to 55 countries, diverting 11 tons of waste from landfills across the country.
Clean the World also conducts soap drives for the collection of new soap that can be immediately used and distributed in hygiene kits to those in need. In just eight weeks, 500 Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services associates based in Salt Lake City turned in a cumulative donation of 16,918 bars of new soap. This 900-pound donation of new soap was in support of Clean the World’s effort to raise awareness by setting a new Guinness World Record in the category of “Most of One Hygiene Item,” which stands at 10,000 pieces.
Another ARDA member, Bluegreen Wilderness Club at Big Cedar (BGWC), is also a participating property in the Clean the World effort. Bluegreen Vacations has been recognized for using supplies made only of recycled materials and equipping their guest rooms with a master switch to cut a unit’s power when not in use. At their Hammocks at Marathon resort, they use non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners, have a linen reuse program, and discuss environmental policy at monthly employee meetings.
Grand Pacific Resort Management (GPRM), the California management company of 15 resorts for over 50,000 owner families in the U.S. and Canada, formed a “Going Green Squad”—a group dedicated to a culture fully committed to being environmentally friendly. Several of their resorts are engaged in unique efforts. For example, The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort collected a thousand plastic bottles destined for landfills and contributed them to artists who crafted a 10’ x 10’ picture of Marilyn Monroe. After GPRM’s Mountain Retreat resort experienced a fire that damaged its clubhouse, the resort “made lemonade from lemons” and implemented a number of environmentally friendly changes, such as double pane windows and motion sensors to control the resources needed to heat and light the space.
The Holiday Inn Club Vacations® flagship Orange Lake Resort in Orlando, FL recently implemented a resort-wide recycling program—a huge undertaking for the 2,478-unit, 1,450-acre property. The program was piloted in one area of the resort in 2011 and introduced resort-wide in June 2012. It’s a simple, easy-to-follow program: green bags in villas designate where guests can place paper, plastic, metal, and glass to be recycled.
According to Orange Lake’s partners at Waste Management, the recycling program has already saved 208 cubic yards of landfill space per quarter. Other milestones the resort has reached include saving 258,576 kW-hours of electricity, 357,000 gallons of water, and 1,224 gallons of gasoline per quarter. To further communicate the property’s recycling program, the resort created a recycling video that demonstrates the positive impacts of recycling.
Interval International’s Singapore staff recently participated in the 21st International Coastal Cleanup Day on Tanah Merah Beach on Singapore’s East Coast. Despite sweltering heat, the volunteer team gathered 614 pounds of discarded items, clearing a mile stretch of the coastline. The International Coastal Cleanup is an annual event conducted in more than 70 countries, coordinated by The Ocean Conservancy, a U.S.-based non-profit organization. The program aims to collect data on and remove debris from the shorelines, waterways, and beaches of the world’s lakes, rivers, and oceans.
As a part of an ongoing commitment to Wyndham Green, Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) is continuing to support the Arbor Day Foundation by implementing a variety of initiatives at its resorts, including serving Arbor Day Coffee, which is organically grown under the canopy of the rainforest. Each cup preserves one of our most precious resources and ensures indigenous farmers earn a fair wage and have access to healthcare and education. To date, WVO has purchased 280,000 pounds of Arbor Day Coffee for use at its resorts, saving more than 28 million square feet of rainforest.
WVO also switched all personal amenity products to the Eartherapy brand, an environmentally responsible company that uses biodegradable and fully recyclable packaging. The packaging contains an organic-based additive, allowing the containers to fully biodegrade into water and dust when in contact with soil for three to five years, taking less than four percent of the time to degrade than traditional plastic packaging.
For more information on timeshare vacations, visit VacationBetter.org.
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org