One thing I've really noticed is that Europe does a much better job than we do with conservation and efficiency.
The things that stick out:
-- High efficiency toilets, usually with two buttons: one for a small flush and one for a big flush
-- Teeny cars and expensive gas. We are the proud lessees of a Mitsubishi Colt hatch-back. It definitely has issues getting up the steep roads in the small Douro towns!
-- Diesel! There are TONS of diesel cars!
-- If you hang your towels in your hotel bathroom, they really do just rehang them for you rather than replacing them.
-- Lots of motion-sensored lights, especially in bathrooms and hotel halls
-- In larger hotels: having a main energy switch in your room triggered by your room card. When you are in your room, the electricity doesn't turn on until you put you card in the wall. Then when you leave and take your card, everything turns off. (This is annoying if you're trying to charge something though)
-- Large container refillable toiletries affixed to shower walls in hotels rather than teeny little bottles that you throw out
-- Hand dryers everywhere instead of paper towels
-- Nuclear power
-- Huge emphasis on renewable energy, conservation, and climate change. I feel like we run into information on these things EVERYWHERE.
The only thing I feel like we do better is bottled water. Over the past five years or so, it seems that there really has been a big push to use filtered tap water rather than bottled water. In fact, I don't know many people at all who still buy bottled water except for convenience purposes, like if they're on a trip or something. However, Europeans are big fans of the 1.5L bottle of water instead of the 16.9 oz bottle that I think is so popular at home. :)