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My Green Chicago Trip, Part 1: Hostel vs. Hotel

Posted By Beth Terry On August 6, 2009 @ 11:16 am In BlogHer,bulk foods,BYO,travel and transportation | 12 Comments

So, I’ve been blogging (whining) about the Blogher Conference in Chicago, but did you know I stayed a few more days to hang out and see the city? This was my vacation, and wow did I need one.

During the conference, I roomed with Micaela Preston (Mindful Momma) [1] at the Chicago Sheraton [2], the same hotel where the conference was held. And while I can deal with a pillow-topped bed a few times in my life, I couldn’t afford to stay at the Sheraton for the remainder of my trip.

Instead, I moved to the Chicago Hostel [3], where I shared a dorm with several other women half my age!

Less luxury, for sure. But certainly more green, and in a way, more fun!

The Sheraton provides many individually-wrapped amenities. Take a look at what is provided in the bathroom. Also, a hair dryer (not shown.)

At the hostel, you get soap and a hair dryer. And the soap comes in a bulk container, so you only use as much as you need. Zero waste.

So what did I bring? Here’s a peek at the contents of my travel bag. Not plastic-free, but I can explain!

1) A tin of baking soda — for deodorant and hair washing. I mix it in a glass of water in the shower to wash my hair. Here’s info about “No ‘Poo” hair care [4], for those who weren’t here that day.

2) Eco-Dent dental floss in a cardboard box

3) Tom’s of Maine toothpaste squeezed into an old prescription bottle. I didn’t want to have to check my luggage, and the toothpaste tube was too big to meet TSA regulations for liquids and gels.

4) Preserve toothbrush

5) A leftover bar of soap from a previous vacation

6) Product hair defrizzer. I’ve written about Product here [5]. It comes in a glass jar. Contains only 5 ingredients. And has lasted me a very long time. It does have a plastic cap.

7) Brush and comb that I’ve had for many years. Plastic, yes. But not new.

8) Plastic Venus razor. As you know, I use a metal safety razor at home [6]. But I kept the Venus razor for travel purposes when I don’t want to check my bags. I believe safety razor blades are frowned upon in our carry-on luggage!

Not shown: A pink lip gloss, eye liner, and powder blush. All plastic. But since I rarely wear makeup, I’ve had these same products since before I started this project!

And what about food? My room at the Sheraton provided all kinds of individually-wrapped treats, of which I of course did not partake.

I’m hoping the price for this bottle of water discouraged Sheraton guests from drinking it.

At the hostel, there’s no such thing as individually-wrapped anything! Breakfast comes in bulk containers on durable dishes.

Milk for cereal and coffee…

During the conference at the Sheraton, meals were served in the ballroom. Wait staff took our dishes away.

This is the ballroom cafeteria at the hostel. Wait staff? You bus and wash your own dishes! There are also refrigerators and stoves for cooking your own lunch and dinner if you’re motivated enough to do that. (I wasn’t.)

No, I wasn’t willing to shop for and cook my own food for the 3 days I stayed there. But I did make sure and bring my own container, utensils, straw, and mug for those days I ate out. They came in handy the very Sunday I moved out of the hotel. Meeting up with blogger Mel, who writes Shot in the Arm [7], we had fun exploring Navy Pier before looking for food for lunch.

Chicago 2009-07 [8]

Chicago 2009-07 [9]

The fun house was… um… fun. FUN, I tell you!

Chicago 2009-07 [10]

The food court on Navy Pier was not the most waste-free environment. In fact, I had an argument with a woman who wouldn’t fill up my travel mug with water. Fortunately, the guys at the Chinese restaurant were not only willing to fill up my mug and Lunchbot stainless steel container [11], they actually gave me a discount for bringing my own!

(I wrap my cloth napkin [12] around hot containers to protect my hands.)

Coming up tomorrow: More about my Green Chicago trip. And links to many photos. All fun. No whining. I’ve decided to save that for next week.

Article printed from My Plastic-free Life: http://myplasticfreelife.com

URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/08/my-green-chicago-trip-part-1-hostel-vs/

URLs in this post:

[1] Micaela Preston (Mindful Momma): http://mindfulmomma.typepad.com

[2] Chicago Sheraton: http://www.sheratonchicago.com

[3] Chicago Hostel: http://www.hichicago.org/

[4] “No ‘Poo” hair care: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/06/no-more-poo/

[5] I’ve written about Product here: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/08/product-tames-frizzies-without/

[6] I use a metal safety razor at home: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/03/update-1-rant-on-shaving-and-power-of/

[7] Shot in the Arm: http://shiploadofwilco.blogspot.com

[8] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3795826094/

[9] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3795001297/

[10] Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeplasticfish/3794991265/

[11] Lunchbot stainless steel container: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2009/02/showing-some-lunchbots-love-quitting-my/

[12] cloth napkin: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6004909

[13] Image: https://plus.google.com/+BethTerry

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