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First of its Kind Agreement between EPA, Puerto Rico Tourism Company and Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority Will Promote Green Tourism

Release Date: 04/05/2011
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov, Brenda Reyes, (787) 977-5869, reyes.brenda@epa.gov

(San Juan, P.R.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today entered into a first of its kind agreement with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Authority to promote environmentally sustainable practices in the tourism industry. The memorandum of understanding lays out the framework for the three agencies to encourage companies in the tourism and hospitality industries to implement green practices and to recognize participating companies by including them in an online directory of facilities that employ green practices.

“Puerto Rico’s rich history and natural beauty make it a popular tourist destination, with an estimated 1 million visitors each year,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Unfortunately, the popularity of Puerto Rico as a tourist destination creates pollution and can strain Puerto Rico’s natural resources and unique ecosystems. Through this agreement, the hospitality industry is helping to ensure that residents and tourists will be able to enjoy Puerto Rico’s environment for generations to come.”

Under the memorandum of understanding with EPA, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and Puerto Rico Solid Waste Management Authority have agreed to:

· Encourage solid waste reduction, reuse and recycling for hospitality facilities. This includes advocating that facilities use reusable dishes, silverware and glassware; buy supplies in bulk to reduce packaging and use refillable soap and shampoo dispensers; donate unused non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food to non-profit organizations such as local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries and shelters; and promote the use of nontoxic cleaning products.

· Recommend that facilities use clean vehicles in their fleets and promote the use of clean vehicle fleets by supply chain industries associated with hospitality.

· Recommend green building design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction in hospitality facilities.

· Encourage owners and operators of tourism-related facilities to measure and track the energy performance of facilities, and develop and implement plans to achieve energy savings, including use of EPA’s EnergyStar energy conservation tools.

· Promote water-efficient practices and products.

· Protect and use existing vegetation where possible, use vegetation and other landscape elements that promote regional identity, and use vegetation and other landscape strategies to lower energy consumption.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company will recognize the companies that choose to participate by developing and maintaining an online directory of hospitality facilities in Puerto Rico that are engaged in sustainable practices. This information will be widely available to potential tourists on the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s website. The goal of today’s agreement is to get at least 10 percent of the tourism and hospitality facilities engaged in green within one year.

More information on making hospitality facilities more sustainable can be found at http://www.epa.gov/region02/p2/hospitality/index.html. For information on EPA’s voluntary programs like the ones incorporated in the Puerto Rico Hospitality agreement, visit http://www.epa.gov/partners/.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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