I found this story about businesses finding ways to conserve water to be strange. I expected to hear about innovation and maybe new technology, but what I got was stuff like this:
The 5-star Four Seasons Hotel recently began furnishing rooms with a ceramic boot that guests place on their beds if they are willing to forgo having the linens changed for up to three days.
Spokeswoman Elysia Sutherland says that since May, about 150 guests have taken up the offer each month, which could save the housekeeping staff from doing 3,300 pounds of laundry annually.
“We’re trying to be green with everything we do here at the hotel,” Sutherland said, adding that a program for guests who wish to reuse towels will be in place soon.
Likewise, restaurants are starting to save by the glassful, serving and refilling water only upon request, which reduces water and ice left untouched by customers who don’t want it and cuts the times a glass has to be washed.
“In Houston, we’re spoiled with good service everywhere you go,” said Hadi Elhage, owner of Skewers Mediterranean Café and Grill. About six weeks ago, the waitstaff stopped automatically bringing water to tables and reflexively filling up glasses after every few sips. “Little by little,” Elhage said, “I think people will get used to it.”
I admit, I don’t generally stay in five-star hotels, but at the hotels where I do stay, the practice of not changing the sheets every day has been standard for at least a decade. It makes good business sense outside of a drought context, because obviously it’s cheaper to have a bed made up than it is to have the bed stripped and the sheets laundered. Most people have no objection to sleeping on the same bedding as the night before. I guess things are a little different in such rarefied air. Don’t get me wrong, every little bit helps and I’m glad to see them doing this, it’s just weird to see it being touted as something newsworthy.
I feel the same way about water being served at restaurants. The norm in my experience for years now has been that the server asks what you want to drink, then brings it. There is no default round of water served to everybody first, at least not at the places I generally go. Heck, I remember a drought in New York some thirty years ago, where Mayor Koch was urging restaurants to not serve water unless people asked for it. Again, good for them and all that, it’s just that there’s nothing new about this.
One more thing:
[Mimi Del Grande, owner and manager of RDG + Bar Annie], who grew up in rain-starved Southern California, said she even has the RDG staff dump unused ice, tea and water in containers that she uses to water plants.
“I just hate throwing all that water away,” she said. “Cleaning a table of 10, and 10 glasses of water haven’t been touched, that’s a sin to me.”
We are doing something like that at our house. We have a basin in the sink, which catches water when we wash hands or rinse plates, and I toss whatever we don’t drink in there as well. The less we have to turn on the hose to water plants, the better.