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Project Planet Corp. focuses on recycling, consevation

June 13, 2003|by LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

While staying overnight at a hotel recently, the bold words on a door hanger caught my eye: "Please reuse the towels."

In a hotel? Really.

Then I read more and was not quite so indignant.

"We invite you to join with us to conserve water by using your towels more than once. In addition to decreasing water and energy consumption, you help us reduce the amount of detergents entering our water system. Please hang up the towels if you wish to participate in this program - if not, simply leave them on the floor."

The program was launched about seven years ago by Project Planet Corp. in Dawsonville, Ga. The company focuses on solutions for the hotel industry that have high guest satisfaction, provide a bottom line benefit for the hotel and help the environment, says Tyler Tatum, general manager of Project Planet Corp.

If guests agree to the linen reuse plan, sheets are changed every three days rather than every day. Of course, this only applies to guests who are staying more than one night. New guests get clean towels and bedsheets.

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The feedback from guests has been overwhelmingly positive, Tatum says.

"Guests are happy. They like the idea that they can help save the environment around them," Tatum says.

Hotels benefit as well, Tatum says.

About 2,500 to 3,000 hotels participate in the program. In the first year of participation, the average 100-room hotel can save 72,000 gallons of water, 480 gallons of detergent and $20,000 - the cost of labor, energy and supplies necessary for the laundry work.

"It's a real win-win for everyone," Tatum says.

Project Planet is in the process of developing a home environmental kit, Tatum said.

As parents, we can teach our children from an early age to not be wasteful.

"Maybe it won't impact global warming. Maybe you don't care about global warming, but (you care) whether we can swim in the pond down the street," Tatum says.

You don't have to be an extremist to help the environment. Conservation begins with simple, reasonable things you can do to make an impact on your community.

Here are some suggestions from Tatum and his co-workers at Project Planet:

  • Look for opportunities to select reusable containers such as glasses vs. bottles or plates vs. plastic in cafeterias or when eating out.

  • Take moving boxes to a recycling center.

  • Donate usable items to Goodwill or another charity.

  • Before you throw something away, consider whether or not it has an alternate use. An old T-shirt can be used as a rag.

  • Going to college in the fall? Ride a bike or walk to class. Or use public transportation if it is available.

  • Use stairs instead of elevators, which not only is good exercise but also conserves energy.

  • When using liquid soap, put soap on your hands and then turn on the water. You don't need to wet your hands first.

  • Recycle notebook paper. If your school does not have a recycling center, start one.

  • Report dripping faucets and running toilets to your landlord or dorm supervisor.

  • Turn water off while brushing teeth and shaving.

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.

  • Share laundry loads with a friend. This will let you save water, energy and money.

  • Be alert to broken or leaking water pipes while moving around campus, especially in cold weather climates in which pipes are more apt to freeze and break. Report these immediately.

  • Start an environmental club at your school.

  • Look for other ideas and learn more by visiting the Project Planet Web site at

    www.projectplanetcorp.com.




Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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