Cloth Napkins

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Proud Texan's picture
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Is it just us or is this a regional thing.   Our guests consistently ask for paper napkins at the breakfast table even though we've placed nice cloth napkins next to their plates.  They don't want to mess up our "nice napkins".   I asked one fellow, who refused to use the cloth napkin because he didn't want us to have to wash it, if he also let himself drip dry after his shower rather than use a towel.   They're all trying to be nice, but it's driving me nuts.

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My grandparents had the same tv for 45 years that they would take in and repair it, same with the radio, same with the wrapping paper, the envelopes, everything was recycled.  If a car broke down they had it repaired they never dumped vehicles in their yard.

Sewage and chemicals was ignorance.  Still is ignorance.  I grew up where we were told in the ocean to jump around and act crazy if we saw a shark, which of course now is proven to attract them and call em for dinner!

We can't be responsible for igorance.

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seashanty's picture
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not all grandparents and those of their generation were green-ish ... often times, they thought 'out of sight, out of mind'

living on farmland that we thought was rich and good ... and discovering to our horror car after car, and abandoned trucks, complete with oil and sludge, buried out back, leaching all kinds of chemicals into the ground;

ditto multiple cans of old paint;

relatives with beautiful property on a lake in maine with a  pipe that ran from their bathroom toilet, out of the basement, down the little private waterfront beach and extended out into the lake where raw sewage from the house emptied out;

same lake - neighbors who brought old engines, complete with whatever oil and junk was in them, out into the water and dumped them to use as moorings

fires in the yard, burning not just leaves and brush, but old furniture that had some kind of polyurethane or other chemicals on it so that the smoke stung our eyes and burnt our throats

many of the folks i'm speaking of ... often just did not see far beyond 'today', they thought the lakes and the land and the air would absorb whatever bad stuff there was so burying and burning and dumping was okay.

 

 

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seashanty wrote:
many of the folks i'm speaking of ... often just did not see far beyond 'today', they thought the lakes and the land and the air would absorb whatever bad stuff there was so burying and burning and dumping was okay.

Yes, all very true.  We had a burn barrel out behind the barn.

When I lived in Maryland I remember islanders who would dump whatever (engines, trash, anything) into the Chesapeake Bay.

Dh doesn't think we're very green.  I say we're pretty darn green for what we are.  We have to have lights on and certain amenities for guest comfort.  But we do what we can.  And when I made the appointment to get my stove fixed he was the one to suggest just buying a new one.  Even if the cost was comparable (which I doubt), I hate to throw a perfectly functional thing away when it only needs one part fixed.  And I hate when companies essentially make us do just that by making buying new cheaper than fixing old.

=)
Kk.

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Welcome, Amkaylor!

We were selected to participate (one of 15 companies and the smallest) in the WV DEP Office of Innovation pilot project - a year of classes on Environmental Management Systems. In my site evaluation I was told I had a large problem - the main tenet is strive for continual improvement and I was already doing just about everything possible. I was doing it by the way, because it saved me money, no other reason (and took the classes to see what it was and in hope of increasing business).

At the Tourism Conference last week, I did not endear myself to the "Green" Panel when I said I think all this "GREEN" is a bunch of hogwash - I do it because it saves me money. My beef was that although WV was a leader in the EMS because they diddled in getting us a logo, it looks as if we are playing follow the leader with VA, ME (and he said WI) having the Green Logo and us sitting here with none.

I was told that they just have a checklist - we do this and this and that - and we have "substance" and a logo will be coming soon. I pointed out that the Public does not give a flip or even read beyond the logo (OK most of the Public) and THEN he got my point!

My problem is that we have been sold down the river with the CFL bulbs, incandescent illegal after what? 2015?..... These bulbs, if they break, turn your house into a hazemat site and need to be disposed of very carefully because they contain mercury. We were told (by the Jeep dealer) that ethanol (the latest & greatest in the Midwest in the mid-80s) melted the plastic parts in the engines so beware of ethanol. So now we are spending more to use food to create a product that will damage my engine after driving food prices up and creating another kind of pollution. Am I a skeptic? YES! Do I advertise on my web site that I am green? YES!! And I actually do practice conservative measures because I want green in my wallet - not in the poclets of the gas company, the electric company, the water board....

Having grown up on a farm in WV the mantra is use, reuse, and then find another use for it before throwing anything away. Growing up without water on the property makes me VERY aware of wastefulness with water. Being good stewards of the planet is very different from climbing on the latest and greatest "IN" movement of the hour. Back when I was young, the Earth was going to be a ball of ice because we were cooling off and about to enter another Ice Age. Now the phrase of the day is Global Warming. Guess what? we did not have another Ice Age so I am waiting to see us need the over-sized bottle of Coppertone.

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Quote:
Back when I was young, the Earth was going to be a ball of ice because we were cooling off and about to enter another Ice Age.

LOL Way off topic but depending on which "predicted" ice age you are referring to, there are a few differences.  In the 50's it started with fear of "nuclear winter"...where the debris from nuclear war cooled the planet.  Fortunately nuclear winter has been avoided by avoiding nuclear war and excessive nuclear testing.  In the early 70s an ice age possiblilty was predicted by a NASA computer model used to model clouds on Venus.  Lets just say that computer modeling in the early 70's is nowhere near what most local meteorologists have access to on their desktop computer today.  This was a prediction based on models not actual happenings.  What we are getting into now is well documented by the decline in planetary ice.  Pundits and politics may differ on the cause, but the melting of the ice continues.

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gillumhouse wrote:
Having grown up on a farm in WV the mantra is use, reuse, and then find another use for it before throwing anything away.

Ours was similar (although my dh had never heard it before he met me):

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without.

=)
Kk.

gillumhouse's picture
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Thanks,I could not remember the exact wording of it.

Re the new clothes - I was the oldest and fat so I got new clothes and so did my skinny sister BUT Mom made everything (neighbor girl was waiting for the hand-me-downs - including the dress Mom made my sister embroidered with a big P - Brenda laid claim to it the first time Pat wore the dress). I had some blouses and dresses made from feed sacks, but most were from good material which was fairly cheap back then. Mom was a beautiful seamstress - made extra money sewing a trouseau for our dentisit's receptionist, includinga coat.

My step-Dad had a spinal fusion at age 12 so was 4'9" and she made his top coats, sport coats, jackets to match slacks he could buy in the Boys Dept (she hated to sew pants because of the fly, dress shirts. etc. I wish I could sew the way she did - I do not have the patience not the time these days - I used to though....

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Hey, I didn't grow up on a farm but my parents said the same thing.  The only reason I got new clothes was because I was the only girl and we lived too far away from my girl cousins.  My brothers still talk about having holes in the soles of their shoes (totally false story like a fish tale...). 

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Morticia's picture
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Luckily, I was the only child in my family for a looooooooong time so I got new clothes. But, I wore a uniform to school so I didn't get a lot of new clothes. All my hand-me-downs went to the old country for the kids back there.

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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YellowSocks wrote:

gillumhouse wrote:
Having grown up on a farm in WV the mantra is use, reuse, and then find another use for it before throwing anything away.

Ours was similar (although my dh had never heard it before he met me):

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Do without.

=)
Kk.

Here is the saying on our McDonald's sign this week.  Ok stop laughing Larry the owner has the highest grossing McDee's in 4 states as he gives back, and the community love him, he is a neat man.  Anyway, back to the wisdom on our McDonald's sign... this is all it says:

ENOUGH IS PLENTY

Sanctuary's picture
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We always use cloth napkins for our guests, and I have hundreds of them thanks to my Mom.  My mother outfitted the yacht with all the table linens, dishes, and silverware.  As a result I have more fine china onboard than I can use! 

It costs me almost nothing to wash the cloth napkins (our water and electric is provided and is not metered), but more importantly, it's a level of service and quality in which paper napkins just don't fit the plan.  When we're out on a charter, as opposed to doing B&B, I have to stow trash until we reach a port, and paper products just make for more garbage.  Rarely are we ever out far enough (12 miles from shore) where throwing it overboard is legal, and even then, I just can't see tossing it overboard when the next port is only a day or two away.

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Morticia's picture
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I didn't know you could throw trash overboard once you are out 12 miles. I suppose I should have.

Sanctuary's picture
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Lots of folk probably don't know about the trash dumping, but heck, the cities take barges of trash out to the 25 mile mark and dump it every day in place of having landfills. 

Actually, once you are 3 miles off shore, you can dump garbage that does not float, but it has to be chopped into 1" pieces.  After 12 miles, you don't have to chop it up.  After 25 miles, you can dump stuff that floats.  No where can plastic be dumped - no where!  You can't dump anything within 3 miles of shore.  Hummmm....I have a garbage disposal in my sink...technically, illegal within 3 miles.  Not allowed to "feed the fish" either unless the food you're throwing out is on a hook, and some of the fish are big enough to eat me!

And the 3 mile mark is also the "line drawn in the sand" for dumping waste tanks (raw sewage).  However, if you are a municipality running a sewage plant, you can dump that on the beach...so it seems.  Yet, the Coast Guard wants to fine boats within 3 miles of shore who merely have a handle attached to the valve and it's not pad locked.  What a crock!  So, we leave the handle laying on the floor (legally) right next to the valve in case we ever want to use it at sea.  If our valves can't have the handles ON them, I at least want to know where they are, so they lay next to them.  The sewage rules are a mess.  You can pee overboard and not get fined, but if you pee in a cup first, you can't pour it out - you'd get fined for pouring the cup overboard - if anyone's watching.  Go figure.  LOL

And ETHANOL....the spawn of the devil.  Have you seen what that stuff does to fuel tanks?  Watch for a class action coming.  On fiberglass tanks, it breaks down the tanks sending goo into the engine which is quickly destroyed ($$$$$$$$$$), eventually, you've got a big fuel spill inside the boat which the bilge pumps quickly pump overboard thinking it's water.  So far, there is no ethanol in marine diesel, just the gasoline.  Our tanks are fiberglass and were built into the keel (very bottom of the boat).  To replace the tanks would be cost prohibitive as it would be quite destructive, meaning the vessel would have to be gutted.  Ethanol....our government at work.

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Thank you for your input on this - the ethanol etc. Here, our City gets warnings and threats of fines if one micro-whatever is over the fine line they have drawn in the unfunded mandates of what can go back into the river after being treated BUT up-river and down-river of us are towns that "straight pipe" (that is what it is called BTW) but nothing because they do not have a sewer plant.

I love my State because it is so beautiful, but the coal, gas, oil, and timber industries (especially coal) took our resources but did not give back (until years later when a coal severance tax was enacted) as in did not build water treatment plants nor sewer treatment plants in the coal fields of southern WV. They did put in at least one water treatment plant in this area - I know this because they "gave" it to my City years ago. It was part of what we spent over 5 million dollars finally upgrading 2 years ago. Next year we will start another more than 5 mill project separating storm sewers that are now unfunded no-no but met specs when our plant was built.

The rules keep changing, not because of anything that makes sense, but to fill someone's pocket forcing municipalities to comform to the new rules or as is now in the works, changing the ADA rules for hotels that will cost a fortune to rework the ADA they complied with 16 years ago but will keep the contractors busy, if it goes through, for several years. The proposed rule changes are horrendous!

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It's not regional...it's what people are used to.  We use cloth napkins too and I use different napkin rings every morning or fold them differently.  It's a treat for folks who are not used to that kind of table service.  I would just say, "You're on vacation (or you're our guest), we like to treat you special!  Don't worry, it all comes out in the wash."  Big smile   Heck, we had a couple of 11 year old girls that thought our table service was awesome!

I do have some nice luncheon sized paper napkins on the library table which we use for our coffee and tea service in the dining room.  Sometimes folks will grab one if they get more coffee or another tea bag before we get in there to refill their hot beverages.  If asked, I would offer them along with telling them that the cloth napkins are for them to use.  We have beverage sized paper napkins in our guest service area on the second floor.

We use cloth napkins because of the type of service that we like to provide, not because I think it's more "green" Smiling

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Simple answer, 'Sorry, we don't have paper napkins, this is a class act.' (You have to wrinkle your nose and get really nasal on the 'class' part to make it humorous.)

I have guests take the little napkins I have out for snacks back to the table for breakfast. If anyone brings up the washing scenario I say I'd rather wash and reuse than throw away the paper for every breakfast.

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I don't have people ask for paper napkins, but I have them ask for paper towels pretty often... any time there's any kind of spill they come looking for one (or send a boy for one).  We're green because we're frugal... the only time I use paper towels is for getting grease off bacon, and even then sometimes I use McDonald's napkins instead.  So I don't have any paper towels handy... they get a kitchen towel instead.

It's green to use cloth napkins.  We've been using them for years and years for that reason.  If someone said they didn't want to use them because they were too nice I'd tell them they wash fine in the washer.  Alternately I might give them a "less nice" cloth napkin, which are on the shelf with the coffee cups and tea bags... sometimes they help themselves to one of those.

I do have people who don't unfold their napkins from the fancy fold... apparently they're too pretty to use.

=)
Kk.

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YellowSocks wrote:

I don't have people ask for paper napkins, but I have them ask for paper towels pretty often... any time there's any kind of spill they come looking for one (or send a boy for one).  We're green because we're frugal... the only time I use paper towels is for getting grease off bacon, and even then sometimes I use McDonald's napkins instead.  So I don't have any paper towels handy... they get a kitchen towel instead.

It's green to use cloth napkins.  We've been using them for years and years for that reason.  If someone said they didn't want to use them because they were too nice I'd tell them they wash fine in the washer.  Alternately I might give them a "less nice" cloth napkin, which are on the shelf with the coffee cups and tea bags... sometimes they help themselves to one of those.

I do have people who don't unfold their napkins from the fancy fold... apparently they're too pretty to use.

=)
Kk.

Rubbish.  Its green, come on everyone the bandwagon has to stop.  You still have to wash the things which uses let's see electricity, gas for some, detergents, water, and more elctricity to dry and/or iron.  Sorry, but I can't handle it anymore.  Green schmeen.

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:
Rubbish.  Its green, come on everyone the bandwagon has to stop.  You still have to wash the things which uses let's see electricity, gas for some, detergents, water, and more elctricity to dry and/or iron.  Sorry, but I can't handle it anymore.  Green schmeen.

OK, the total bald truth:  it's cheap.   (Actually, it's frugal, I'm cheap.)  Cloth napkins get thrown in with the rest of the wash... so the cost of washing them is negligible.  Paper requires me to actually spend money, which I hate to do on something that gets thrown away.  I even cringe when dh reaches for the plastic wrap... we have plastic containers for leftovers!

=)
Kk.

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YellowSocks wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:
Rubbish.  Its green, come on everyone the bandwagon has to stop.  You still have to wash the things which uses let's see electricity, gas for some, detergents, water, and more elctricity to dry and/or iron.  Sorry, but I can't handle it anymore.  Green schmeen.

OK, the total bald truth:  it's cheap.   (Actually, it's frugal, I'm cheap.)  Cloth napkins get thrown in with the rest of the wash... so the cost of washing them is negligible.  Paper requires me to actually spend money, which I hate to do on something that gets thrown away.  I even cringe when dh reaches for the plastic wrap... we have plastic containers for leftovers!

=)
Kk.

YIPPEE!!!   I love it.  Nothing wrong with frugality. That was the whole reason I mentioned our ancesters - relatives - why would anyone throw stuff away and have to buy it again?  They would have thought that foolishness.  (Except of course diapers that is another subject altogether!) 

We have bought into the disposable society, that is the issue right there.  Let's get out of it. 

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Rubbish.  Its green, come on everyone the bandwagon has to stop.  You still have to wash the things which uses let's see electricity, gas for some, detergents, water, and more elctricity to dry and/or iron.  Sorry, but I can't handle it anymore.  Green schmeen.

Paper towels take just as much, and actually more, it's just not on the end of the user.  After the trees are cut and processed, and the paper is bleached, and then dried and rolled... well then you have the electricity used for packaging, the energy consumed for shipping to a store, and the energy used to take it from store to home with you.  By decreasing consumption in using cloth, it is actually saving money and energy in the long run.  It may be more work on your end, but it's less in the big picture.

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amkaylor wrote:

JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:

Rubbish.  Its green, come on everyone the bandwagon has to stop.  You still have to wash the things which uses let's see electricity, gas for some, detergents, water, and more elctricity to dry and/or iron.  Sorry, but I can't handle it anymore.  Green schmeen.

Paper towels take just as much, and actually more, it's just not on the end of the user.  After the trees are cut and processed, and the paper is bleached, and then dried and rolled... well then you have the electricity used for packaging, the energy consumed for shipping to a store, and the energy used to take it from store to home with you.  By decreasing consumption in using cloth, it is actually saving money and energy in the long run.  It may be more work on your end, but it's less in the big picture.

Okay just for the record here, have we met? Or are you just enthusiastic about this subject?

I understand the whole environment issue.  Trust me.  I lived on another continent where green peace started.  I also lived in the NW where the salmon were worshipped and every tree was given a beddy bye hug.

What I am saying, and will be strung up here for saying it, is that everything at a B&B is not for a GREEN purpose.  It is really nice that people like to justify this.  We will provide a bottle of water in your room, hey it is recycled, so it is ok.

I am sure as heck not going to tell a guest "You better use that cloth napkin instead of killing our planet!"

We can all do whatever we can - I am a conservationist and wish for this beautiful land to remain intact for future generations.  DARN STRAIGHT! 

What I cannot stand is the phoney environmenalism for the sake of the bandwagon.  Trying to always come across that everything we do is GREEN.  Switching out light bulbs and giving dispensers for soap in the shower doesn't make you green.

Living a lifestyle that is green would make you green.  Too many B&B's keep toting this but unless you are an eco-lodge, are not green.  Do you have rack cards? WHY? THE INTERNET doesn't kill any forests. 

BTW Trees are reharvestable.  I am not talking old growth, I am talking trees.  You can actually plant more of them. 

I am not trying to anger everyone, but I am sure the wagon will all saddle up and let me have it now.  That is okay, we are all in this together. 

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I am brand new, and have not made an intro post, but I am also passionate about the topic.  My husband and I are aspiring innkeepers, and I am getting my hands on as much information as possible about the business to make sure we are making a sound decision.

I, too, get frustrated with the "greenwashing" of everything and the bandwagon.  Our B&B concept is actually to have an off-the-grid, eco B&B.  My husband has been a "green builder and remodeler" for years and we've invested a lot in our knowledge of sustainable business, building, and so on.  Our home, for instance, is almost entirely solar powered (there's nothing like seeing that you have a credit on your electric bill because you produced more than you could consume and fed it back to the power plant), we have entirely native, non-invasive landscaping, and we grow most of our own food, etc.  Our eco-footprint is much more to us than the soap and the small things. It's something we live (and enjoy living) every single day.

I responded because it's so common for us to run into people who immediately think of the end result, without thinking of the process. And I apologize, for jumping in with my first comment and not explaining better.  Like you, the bandwagon drives me nuts, especially if there is no thought behind it.  Even those of us who are eco-savvy don't do everything just right all of the time.

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amkaylor wrote:
I am brand new, and have not made an intro post, but I am also passionate about the topic.  My husband and I are aspiring innkeepers, and I am getting my hands on as much information as possible about the business to make sure we are making a sound decision.

Well, you have now!

Welcome !!!!

=)
Kk.

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Welcome Amkaylor  Welcome

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Thanks! Eye-wink

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amkaylor wrote:

I am brand new, and have not made an intro post, but I am also passionate about the topic.  My husband and I are aspiring innkeepers, and I am getting my hands on as much information as possible about the business to make sure we are making a sound decision.

I, too, get frustrated with the "greenwashing" of everything and the bandwagon.  Our B&B concept is actually to have an off-the-grid, eco B&B.  My husband has been a "green builder and remodeler" for years and we've invested a lot in our knowledge of sustainable business, building, and so on.  Our home, for instance, is almost entirely solar powered (there's nothing like seeing that you have a credit on your electric bill because you produced more than you could consume and fed it back to the power plant), we have entirely native, non-invasive landscaping, and we grow most of our own food, etc.  Our eco-footprint is much more to us than the soap and the small things. It's something we live (and enjoy living) every single day.

I responded because it's so common for us to run into people who immediately think of the end result, without thinking of the process. And I apologize, for jumping in with my first comment and not explaining better.  Like you, the bandwagon drives me nuts, especially if there is no thought behind it.  Even those of us who are eco-savvy don't do everything just right all of the time.

NOW YOU ARE TALKIN!  That is what I mean.  Welcome to the forum. No apologies necessary, we come across diff online than in person anyway.  Half of what I say I am humorous about, but it doesn't come across that way. 

I applaud anyone who truly is green. It takes many sacrifices  I applaud everyone for doing their part and AS MUCH as they can.  I just am not passionate about justifying it to our guests, when most of what we do is in NO WAY ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly.  Is it to make THEM feel good or for us to feel good? Or is it a way to promote our inns? 

Australia is the orig green place.  Most of it for very good reason.  NO outdoor cats in entire cities due to wildlife endangerment.  But it is true! Non native animals took out whole species.  So I actually do "get it" prob more so than the forum thinks.

Anyway, like mentioned, if someone is truly green, then I applaud them.  It is this MEDIA bandwagon that gets my goat!  Your term Greenwashing is a good one.

Think about it, think about parents and grandparents and great grandparents.  Now WHO WAS GREENER THAN THEY?  I mean they recanned, they didn't buy and toss out jars and cans like we do today.  They hung the laundry out, the recycled, dang, even wrapping paper rubber bands and tinsel! 

This new generation acts like they are saving the world because they recycle a plastic waterbottle.  That is all I wanted to say.  I know I know I say too much.

WELCOME to the forum.  Get in on ALL the topics.  We're glad you are here with your perspective in the mix.
 

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JunieBJones (JBJ) wrote:
I applaud anyone who truly is green. It takes many sacrifices  I applaud everyone for doing their part and AS MUCH as they can.  I just am not passionate about justifying it to our guests, when most of what we do is in NO WAY ENVIRONMENTALLY friendly.  Is it to make THEM feel good or for us to feel good? Or is it a way to promote our inns? 

Yes, yes, and yes.  It makes us feel good, them feel good, and promotes our inns.  Just this moment I got the following email:

This is [guest] and I love you're "About Us" page.  The fact that you are green makes even happier that I gave you a call!

Great stuff!

Regards,
[Guest]

So, he didn't actually pick me because we're green, but finding that we are makes him happier about choosing us.  Feeling good is a good thing in a guest... he's already talking about booking his next visit.

=)
Kk.

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It is hard to promote being green when you have giant 2 person jetted tubs that use a lot of water. 

Remember, promoting being "green" can also be a regional thing or locale thing.  There are things that we do here to lessen our impact that many, many, many of the population here don't do & won't consider doing.  It's a result of our having lived in a lot of different places.  It takes a lot of education to change people's minds about how to live their lives. 

The ultimate recyling - living in an old house Smiling

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We've never had anybody ask for paper.  We have paper bev naps out for coffee and use cloth at breakfast.  Mention that the cloth napkins are greener - reusable - and maybe they'll get it?  I went to one of our more expensive restaurants in town and they use paper napkins.  Not very impressive.

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muirford wrote:

We've never had anybody ask for paper.  We have paper bev naps out for coffee and use cloth at breakfast.  Mention that the cloth napkins are greener - reusable - and maybe they'll get it?  I went to one of our more expensive restaurants in town and they use paper napkins.  Not very impressive.

We ate out last night, went to one popular seafood place and the smoke about killed me and we had to leave.  Ended up at SHAKERS.  I think it is a chain? Not sure.

Two points of this post - #1 the girls were all excited as they had folded paper nakpins that appeared to be cloth.  They had a whole discussion on where they must buy these.

#2 I saw on the side dishes potatoes ay gratin.  I thought, WOW! I have never seen that offered in a restaurant before! How interesing.  Ordered that and a salad.

Well guess what PEOPLE - It was the cheesy potato casserole/pie whatever the term in we use for it on this forum.  It was shredded potatoes etc etc.

I proclaimed loudly and embarrassed the whole family "Why that's cheesy potato pie!"

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

our guests use our cloth napkins ... never had some ask for paper ... i do have paper ones in the library. recycled paper, they aren't very soft, maybe the guests don't like them!

 

greyswan's picture
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06/03/2008

Then, that makes me an Australian, too!!

 

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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Joined:
05/22/2008

In Australia they don't even use those, they use their sleeves.

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