If you are old enough, you may recall these classic lines in the 1967 movie The Graduate. The dialog goes like this:

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics

When we added plastics to the items we recycle, we were amazed at the amount of water bottles we generate each week. The internet is full of websites dealing with the environmental impact, such as Bottled Water Issues .

We are currently supply each room refrigerator at the inn-suite with two bottles of water/room and supply each riverbluff cottage suite refrigerator with four bottles. The number one item requested by guests is for additional bottles of water. The question is simple:
Should we provide unlimited amounts of bottled water to our guests, or is there another way to allow them to refill their empty bottles?


  1. Words to live by, then and now.

    What if you centrally located in the inn a 5 gallon bottle that was available to your guests to fill up their drinking glass or personal travel water bottle. Most folks these days don't walk out their door without their own water bottle, and they may just be deciding to leave their bottle in the car and drink what you provide. Don't automatically keep handing out the 8 or 12 oz individual bottles, but perhaps have some on hand – or offer to sell guests a water bottle customized with the Hermann Hill logo on it!

    We all need to be educated on the impact these disposable bottles have on our environment – if nothing more the shear volume that accumulates on a daily, weekly & monthly basis for the staff of Hermann Hill to recycle. Perhaps the going-green lesson can begin at Hermann Hill!

    This from a former innkeeper and now guest at our favorite B&B's around the country!

  2. Well, I have a few potential solutions.

    1) You could add a reservoir (1-2 gallons) of whatever water you like in the refrigerator, refilling between guests. Then they can have as much as they’d like.

    2) You could provide Nalgene-style water bottles and give guests the option of taking them (fee charged if they are gone after a guest leaves).

    3) Incrementally, you could replace refrigerators with new ones that include water treatment and cooler features. (actually, you might have that already…I can’t remember)

    Hope one or more of those helps!

  3. very good question! i used to bring water bottles with me wherever i went just to stay hydrated and even though i recycled the bottles, i still felt i should do something different. so i have a reverse osmosis water system in my house that i fill up a reusable water bottle. it's very efficient and has paid for itself already. all you have to do is replace the filters a few times a year (depending on how often its used). this could be a system that is somewhere in your lobby so people can fill up their bottles as they come and go. it would be too costly and unnecessary to have one in each room. and the idea of having a environmentaly safe water bottle to buy with your logo, is nice as well. mine is stainless steel, but there are lots of safe plastics out there as an option (avoid #1, #3, #6, & #7 plastics as those are meant to be used only once (#1) or can leach toxic plastics. #2, #4, & #5 plastics are reusable). for more info on safe plastics you can check out this website:
    good luck!

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