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Scientists are calling for federal legislation to combat the disposable plastic pollution scourge.

In late 2013, several US Government and Non Government Organizations sponsored a powerful presentation made at the offices of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Two UCLA students spent an entire semester gathering research and recommendations to address the issue of marine plastic pollution. The data presented in their research identified a drastic situation.

The students identified several ways in which plastic can be harmful or even fatal to marine wildlife. They found that plastic corrupts the food chain, and costs the global economy billions of dollars.  Fishing, tourism, and shipping industries suffer tremendous blows financially, while cleanup costs to municipal Governments are becoming overwhelming. To further shed light on the seriousness of the situation, the research team also collected expired animals to examine the contents of their stomachs.  More than half of the sea turtles, birds, and commercial fish examined had plastic in their bellies.

One hundred million tons of plastic trash was estimated to be floating around in the oceans at the date of the presentation, with another twenty million tons being added each year. It is estimated that the United States consumes 380 billion plastic bags each year, only 5% of which are recycled.  The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean today was compared to that of the ozone layer depletion crisis of the 1970s.  The comparison drew particular attention to the enormous success that federal policy had on the problem of ozone depletion after the Clean Air Act resulted in reduction the harmful emissions by 95%.

Students, scientists, and many other supporters of placing restrictions on disposable plastic production and sale are rallying for international policy.  There has been  great progress made at the state and municipal level in regards to banning disposable plastic grocery bags throughout the United States. There are currently over 110 bans restricting the use of plastic bags in place in the United States, encompassing over 150 cities.  The broader international community has also begun to adopt policies that counter the use of disposable plastic.  For example, there have been over thirty countries, including a large portion of Canada, that have adopted a policy known as the Extended Producer Responsibility Act.  This policy directs the cost of dealing with the effects of pollution towards the manufacturer who produced the items.

People worldwide are joining the movement to drastically reduce, and ultimately end, the flood of plastic garbage that is entering our oceans.  Aside from lobbying for federal policy, there are many organizations and individuals that are taking cleanup efforts into their own hands.  At the forefront of the effort is the Ocean Conservancy, the organization responsible for International Coastal Cleanup Day.  Every year, on September 20th, thousands of people head out to the nearest coastline in search of trash to remove.  Last year’s effort drew nearly 650,000 people out to participate. These volunteers removed over 12,000,000 pounds of trash.  This event has garnered sponsorship from some of the world’s largest companies including Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, and Glad.

In a perfect world, federal policy would not be necessary.  So many people are starting to realize that the convenience of using disposable items is far out-weighed by the environmental cost associated with it, but unfortunately, the majority have not caught up yet.  Disposable plastic is a social inefficiency that future generations will pay the price for and the more we can eliminate from our everyday lives, the less our children will have to clean up after us.


A New Trend has People Heading Online to get Closer to Nature?!

Technology has a reputation for pushing people farther from nature, however, with the emerging popularity of webcam streaming, we are now seeing technology have the opposite effect.  A new incredibly popular trend has emerged – the live streaming of nature online, nature documentaries in real time.  Recently, a pair of endangered, nesting Ospreys made headlines in the Globe and Mail when a publisher for the newspaper became aware that 50 million viewers had tuned in to a live webcam broadcast monitoring their nest.

Nature webcams provide scintillating live feeds of breathtaking scenery, animals, and plants, free from human interference. Viewing these phenomena through a computer screen may not compare with real world experience, however, webcams are able to capture nature in a previously undiscovered state. Listed below is a compilation of webcam feeds from around the globe that are informative and fun to watch, providing exciting natural views.

Sheraton Hotel Falcons

Atop the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto live a pair of very popular Peregrine Falcons.  The hotel has embraced the presence of the birds and created a peaceful environment for them which has now helped them produce four male chicks!  The hotel’s sponsorship and partnership with the Peregrine Foundation is beneficial all around.  The birds have a safe home to raise their young, and the hotel has gained the admiration of bird lovers worldwide and the publicity that accompanies hosting these remarkable animals.  In addition, the entire world now has the opportunity to check in on the birds whenever they wish via the hotel’s live webcam feed available at the Peregrine-foundation.ca

The Peregrine Falcon is one of the fastest species on Earth and they have a penchant for building their nests at very high altitudes, such as the top of cliffs and skyscrapers.  The Sheraton webcam provides users with the chance to view these amazing birds inside their nests.

The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are one of the greatest sights of the natural world, a breathtaking display of seemingly magical illumination.  The Lights are visible in the Polar Regions at certain times of the year, few have the chance to travel and enjoy them in person and many who have made this journey have been disappointed by a no-show.

Now, thanks to technology, the website http://www.porjus.eu offers viewers the opportunity to view these beautiful sights.  The camera feeds allow you to see the show from any location around the world.  The web camera that took this amazing shot is located in an area in Northern Sweden called the Swedish Lapland, in the tiny village of Porjus known for its amazing views.

Loch Ness

If you have been itching to catch a glimpse of the famous Loch Ness, thanks to technology, you no longer need to leave the comfort of your home to monitor the lake.  Since the 1930s, people have been traveling to Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands hoping to glimpse “Nessie”, the huge monster said to inhabit the lake.  Now, 80 years later, the tradition continues. Now, all you need to indulge in a little plesiosaur-spotting is your browser, and high speed internet. At lochness.co.uk, webcams offering live streams of Loch Ness lake can be found, including the live feed of award winning researcher, Mikko Takala.  The webcam refreshes every three seconds allowing viewers amazing lake views in real time.  Plans are underway for the installation of an underwater cam that could potentially locate or disprove the existence of the elusive Nessie.

Bonaire National Marine Park in the Antilles Islands

The breathtaking views from the underwater camera in Bonaire National Marine park are enough to make anyone desperately want to get scuba-certified.  The underwater cam, shows a live feed, that can be refreshed up to every two seconds with high speed internet connection.  Located 15 meters below the drop-off at a famous dive site known as “Something Special”, the cam provides an underwater view of the Bonaire National Marine Park in the Antilles Islands.  The website offers a particularly clear glimpse of the marine ecosystem.  The screen can be set to refresh anywhere from 2 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on the internet connection.  Refreshing every 2 seconds, it is possible to actually see the movements of the marine life.

Big Five – Maasai Mara Kenya.

For those fascinated by the sight of lions, elephants, hippos and hyenas going about their daily business, the Africam webcam service can be of immense assistance.  Through webcam streams at Africam.com, users can monitor up to four streaming feeds, as well as sign up to be instantly alerted through Facebook or Twitter when any of the animals are in view.  This way, it is possible to experience a safari from the comfort of your living room.

 


A Message from Starwood President of Global Development, Simon Turner, on Sustainability

“I really do believe that there’s a generational shift in thinking on sustainability.  And I think that when you look at the generation of owners in their 30s and 40s there’s more sensitivity to sustainability and to eco-awareness than perhaps there was in the generation before.  I just think that as a society we are becoming much more aware of that.  And when you read press reports about the Antarctic ice sheet melting and it being irreversible and that sort of thing that you have to be sensitive to it.  I think fundamentally there’s been a shift in the social consciousness of everybody both in the business community and everywhere else that we’ve got to be aware of this and we’ve got to be sensitive to it.

What we do is we bridge the gap in those conversations with owners and we say being eco friendly of focusing on sustainability is good for the planet, it’s good for your guests, and it’s good for your bottom line.  Because what I think what we’re really trying to focus on doing is we want to do the right socially conscious thing, we also want to do those things in a manner that we’re not just doing it because they are the right thing to do (I know by the way that it is the right thing to do).  We’re doing it in a way that it make economic sense to the owners.

It’s interesting, one of the things we’re seeing with Element is because of the LEED certification, when you go in front of a planning committee, which is made up of mostly elected officials, that’s a very very important thing in their minds.  If they’re looking at a community which is responsive to sustainability needs, and you’re introducing a building that is going to be LEED certified, that resonates with them and it resonates with the voters and the taxpayers. So there are sometimes unquantifiable benefits. if you have a LEED certified building, maybe that makes it through the planning process just a little bit quicker and maybe they’re going to be more accommodating as far as giving you access to utilities and roads and those sorts of things, and that’s tough to measure specifically.  When it comes to lighting, and water usage, and the use solar, and all those types of things..net net, you can make an economic case that this is the right thing from an investment perspective as well as the right socially responsible thing to be doing.”

This quote is a transcript of the video which can be found on Hotelsmag.com

 


Interested in what the future may hold for the Hospitality Industry? You Need Look no Further than Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a well deserved reputation as a tourist destination in the sun, sand and opulence of the wealthy Emirati.  Arguably, it is the luxury capital of the world and, indeed, there are only a few hotels worldwide that can compare to the five star hotels in the UAE, the trendsetters in the hospitality industry.

Creative and Stunningly Beautiful Architectural Designs

Burj Al Arab

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab dominates Dubai’s skyline.  The glistening hotel, which resembles a yacht, towers over the Persian Gulf.  

Guests can enjoy a stunning view of a city dotted with fantastical high-rises and countless cranes from their floor-to-ceiling windows.  Burj Al Arab is a seven star hotel; but officially it’s a double deluxe five star hotel, the highest possible rating.

Service Delivery

The distinctive, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab also stands out for its superb, world class service.  Complementing the the stunning allure that this structure provides, the service within really makes the Burj Al Arab extraordinary. It has been voted as the world’s most luxurious hotel numerous times, offering the finest services and facilities.  Guests have the option of a chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce, discreet check- in, a private reception, and a host of personal butlers, each trained to provide unparalleled service befitting this distinguished hotel.

There is a fleet of white Rolls Royce’s on the forecourt, and dancing fountains in the foyer.  Fireworks launch from the bridge to announce the arrival of important guests. Luxury cars ferry guests across an ocean causeway to the hotel’s own man-made island.  Helicopters with VIP guests land on a suspended helipad, a disc far above the sea.  The Burj’s sheer opulence, coupled with its outrageously attentive service, has garnered the hotel a mythical seven star reputation.

The Water Discus Hotel

First, it was the Burj Al Arab, built on a man-made island with a spectacular view of sea life above the surface of the Persian Gulf.  Dubai hoteliers then set out to lure guests beneath the blue surface waters.  The Water Discus Hotel, scheduled to open in Dubai, intends to provide luxury accommodations to anyone who wants to sleep in the deep.

The hotel, designed by Deep Ocean Technology, will contain 21 suites housed in two main discs, one above the water, the other below.  Deep Ocean Technology has created a modular design for the hotel such that, should any environmental or economic changes occur, the Water Discus modules can be safely moved to alternate places.

The guest rooms will contain panoramic glass windows that offer views below the Persian Gulf.  Guests will feel like they are sleeping inside a 24-hour aquarium with local flora and fauna right outside the wall.

The windows will be equipped with special lighting, and macro photography sensors so guests can zoom into even the smallest creatures for a detailed look at their colors, patterns, and movement.  In addition, the hotel will offer amenities such as a spa, helipad, diving center, and a terrace above the ground for sea-sick visitors.

Hotel Atlantis

Technology

Guests are bringing more devices into hotels than ever before – tablets, laptops, smartphones.  Hotel Atlantis strives to provide enough bandwidth to accommodate the many devices that guests bring while on vacation.  Atlantis works hard to provide the latest cutting edge technology in guestrooms, though the pace of technology sometimes leads to tech becoming obsolete far too quickly.  However, the Hotel Atlantis stays at the forefront of technological innovations by facilitating guests’ usage of their own devices.  This means Jack packs and Bluetooth to connect any device to the room TV, plenty of outlets for charging, and, of course, lots of bandwidth.

Technological innovations also help to pull in tourists to the hotel.  With technological innovations such as social media applications, instant photo sharing apps like Instagram, and review websites; guests can rate the hotel, and those wishing to travel can track the best time to visit the hotel, and the great tourist attractions through its website.

The UAE is a tourist destination where high-end is the norm and, as such, the desert metropolis has a host of magnificent five star hotel options for the adventurous traveller to choose from.  It is evident, however, that the confluence of creative design, innovative application of technology, and great service delivery all account for the 10 million tourists a year that flock to this beautiful vacation hot-spot.

The UAE’s economy was initially built on revenue from the oil industry.  Currently, the revenue from petroleum and natural gas account for less than 2% of the Emirate’s gross domestic product, whereas, heavy investments in industries and land now make up the bulk of the UAE’s economic growth.  The government’s decision to diversify from a trade based, oil reliant economy to one that is service and tourism oriented resulted in the property boom.  The extreme wealth that the Emirati derive from one of the world’s largest oil reserves enables them to hire the best architects to build the impossible.  Meanwhile, tax breaks and friendly property laws help to pull in wealthy investors who have constructed buildings like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina, and the Jumeirah Village.

 


Dispenser Amenities is relocating, expanding, and hiring new employees.

Main Office

This July our main office will be moving, but not too far! One block from our current location of 141 Consortium Cres, London, Ontario, a beautiful new facility has opened up at 505 Newbold St, London, Ontario.

Our staff and office pets will enjoy the increased space and lunchroom facilities along with some upgraded equipment.  The real benefit for our customers however will be our increased order flow and control!  Up to this point we have been coordinating our logistics through a local third party.  Now, included with our new location, will be our own warehouse.  This will greatly increase our ability to monitor and organize shipments to our customers and distributors, especially those with orders which involve customized Dispensers or complex shipping requirements.

We are also thrilled to announce our acquisition of a very talented and resourceful new employee, Sue Rancourt. Sue has over 20 years experience in the logistics industry, many of which were spent as a fore-woman at a major warehouse here in London.  Sue has a long-standing relationship with our company and after July she will assume the title of Logistics Coordinator here at Dispenser Amenities head office.  Having Sue together with the rest of our staff in our wonderful new building, we are certain will increase our efficiency exponentially!

Asian Sales Office

Miranda Lee CropIn response to the rapidly growing Asian market and to better serve our existing international hotel brands as they develop new properties throughout the Australasian continent, we have established a new warehouse and sales office operating from Taiwan.  Our Starwood partners, Four Points by Sheraton, Element, and Aloft brands in particular will now be able to take advantage of  much shorter lead time for orders needing shipment to the eastern side of the globe.  Moving forward, having inventory available  for shipping out of Taiwan will drastically increase the speed and reduce the cost of servicing this region of the world.

We have also hired at new employee to head our Asian Sales Department.  Miranda Lee, will be located in our Taiwan office and will be responsible for sales and customer service in the entire Australasia region.  She has worked closely with Dispenser Amenities for many years being our main customer service contact person with our Taiwan factory.  Miranda is fluent in English and Mandarin and can communicate in writing in both English and Chinese.  We are delighted that Miranda has joined the growing Dispenser Amenities team.

 


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