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3 women looking at the ocean at Point Montara Lighthouse

Quirky Ways HI USA Hostels Save Water

From big city buildings to cute beach properties, HI USA hostels around the country are doing their bit for Earth in little and large ways. There’s the simple, like recycling, and the high-tech, like rooftop solar panels. And then there’s the quirky, found in the ways some hostels save water. Take a look at some the places you can visit where water is being re-used and recycled so you can travel responsibly without even trying.

The toilets at HI SF Downtown Hostel

A sign for the bathroom

It might seem a little weird at first to wash your hands from a sink that’s attached to a toilet, but it’s actually a pretty ingenious way HI San Francisco Downtown saves water with each trip to the bathroom. The water that you use to wash your hands gets filtered back into the system and is used for the next flush, making a loop that saves water from just being washed down the drain. It’s also only one of the toilets you’ll probably want to take a picture of.

The roof at HI Portland Hawthorne Hostel

The front of HI Portland Hawthorn Hostel

What do you get when you mix Portland’s weirdness, dedication to green living, and its months of rain? A system like the one at HI Portland Hawthorne, which collects thousands of gallons of rainwater each year that is used to power the toilets inside and water the native plant gardens outside. The front of the hostel looks like a piece of art with a swimming salmon steel sculpture and a living wall of succulent plants, both part of a smart design to keep rainwater from the city’s sewage system.

The washing machines at HI Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel & HI San Diego Point Loma

Two women on a swing chair at HI Point Montara hostel

Next time you visit HI Point Montara or HI SD Point Loma hostels, be sure to bring a load of laundry with you and you’ll be doing the hostel a favor. The beachy getaways in drought-prone California have idyllic little gardens with native decorative and edible plants that are watered with recycled water from their washing machines. The hostels use chemical-free laundry soap so there’s no harm to the soil, and each load ensures no precious drop goes to waste.

The showers at HI Monterey Hostel

A shower head with water falling

We all have that one friend who always takes too long in the shower (if you don’t have one then you are that friend), and it’s even worse when you’re staying at a hostel and there’s a line for the bathroom. HI Monterey solves this problem and saves water with their token showers: at check-in you get tokens that make the shower run for three minutes at a time to prevent overuse. It might not sound like much, but you’d be surprised at how little time you actually need, and it makes for a fun challenge to see who can use the fewest tokens per shower.