A new year with Caractère: Disposable solutions for ‘Back to School’

This time of year coincides with several changes. The long and sunny days start to lose their spark, not to mention length. People move around in droves, beginning new jobs and seeking new titles. The produce available changes, just as the coulors of the leaves on trees. For students and teachers, another year starts to take shape, along with its inherent excitement and anxiety. How can school administrators and education policy makers ensure a safe, easy and comfortable return to the classroom? Let’s explore the opportunities to improve your institution over years past with Caractère’s wide range of disposable products for schools and day care centers!

Naptime hygiene
Does your establishment encourage kids to take nap? A vital moment of rest during a child’s formative years, naps help the child to recharge and reboot. Pediatricians explain the need for naps as a result of the process of growth and development, a highly energy-demanding experience for children. Experts agree that as long as one imposes limits and sticks to a regimen, naps will not interfere with the child’s ability to attain a normal night of sleep.

While most teachers believe in the necessity of naps, the problems of modern life can make this normally simple concept more complicated than necessary. Naptime hygiene, in particular, proves a constant problem for daycare centers and schools. How do some institutions prevent the spread of lice, fleas, chicken pox and other diseases and pests; problems that perennially plague others? How can the school’s administration provide a comfortable solution for children often required to sleep on the floor? How can ease of use, affordability and cleanliness intersect?

To answer these questions, Caractère proudly presents disposable sleeping bags! The bags come in sets of 10 units that measure 2 m (6½ feet) long and 1m (3¼ feet) wide each. Imagine trying to travel or go camping with a group of children and having to organise logistics. Among the prime concerns of food and shelter would be the decision of where to sleep. Clearly, there now exists a quick and simple solution. Custom-designed from a resistant, non-woven fabric, these lightweight sleeping bags can be used as liners inside more traditional insulated sleeping bags, on top of nap mats or thick carpeting, or with blankets and other traditional bedding materials.

Large enough for adults yet cozy enough for children, Caractère designed the sleeping bag liner with every need in mind. In the unfortunate event of a natural disaster, they can provide ease of mind in relief centres and airports. Ever versatile, homeless shelters and other group housing establishments could use them to avoid the spread of infections. Zipper-free, there’s no danger of snagging or hurting yourself, or feeling a cold shock from metal touching the skin. Individually-wrapper packaging ensures a hygienic distribution to each and every user. Finally, created with the environment in mind, the liners can then be thrown away or recycled. To learn more, see the Sleeping Bags page on Disposable Linen’s website.

For the youngest among those at daycare, Caractère also created a baby-friendly version of the sleeping bag. Ideally for children of two to 18 months old, the bags are available in sets of 6 units. A wonderful, innovative and popular product not only for day cares, but also for parents on the go who want the best quality sleeping arrangement for their children. Available in 6 colours, you can choose one to match your mood. This solution ends your worries about cleaning, ironing and looking out for baby sheets!

Both the adult and baby sleeping bags’ lifespans range anywhere from one to two weeks, depending on the user’s cleanliness and preferences. In terms of safety, the baby-sized version closes thanks to a Velcro seal sewn on shoulders, instead of the buttons used by other products that pose a choking hazard. A zip fastener on the side prevents injuries to the baby’s neck. Adjustable in size thanks to shoulder straps, the sleeping bag also offers room for a personal touch with the choice of six colours: Blue, Light Blue, Golden Yellow, Light Yellow, Salmon and Light Green. Please see the Disposable Linen website for more information about our comfy Baby Sleeping Bags.

Library and media room cleanliness
Does your school integrate multi-media presentations or activities into its lessons? Research shows that switching from the typical, top-down hierarchy of lectures to a more inclusive and varied set of media sources encourages the development of a child’s mind. In addition, it helps provide a moment of discovery for the children, who feel they have a choice over what information they access and for how long. Why not take advantage of advances in technology to accelerate learning and give your kids a more accurate view of the world?

Unfortunately, the realities of lice and ticks often put a damper on multi-media aspirations. A pesky issue, these critters can dig deep down in the padded foam that lines earphones and headsets, ready to strike at any moment. Once infected, a child can spread lice to an entire class in a matter of days. After a tick attaches itself, it can spread lyme disease and stay on the child’s skin for extended periods of time, undiscovered, sucking blood as long as it desires.

Fortunately, Caractère’s disposable headphone covers present a perfect solution! Totally hygienic, this is the only way to avoid infections because each user puts on a different set each time. Avoid the lice, ticks, flu viruses and mega-resistant bacteria with sanitary equipment for each user. Luxury gyms and fitness centres already provide their clients with these headphone covers to allow users to listen to music or watch television while they enjoy their favourite exercise activities. This after they found it too costly to give a new pair of headphones to each guest, not to mention the environmental waste that would entail!

Easy to wear and comfortably breathable, the earphone covers feel almost undetectable when worn. Caractère now offers six different sizes of headphone covers, designed and tailored for devices between 1 and 7 inches (3 to 12 cm) in diameter. They also fit the ear pieces of conventional telephones and function as an ideal cover for cellular and mobile headsets, such as CN® ou jaffa®. Fitting snugly, they guarantee your listening comfort while providing the safety desired by parents and health inspectors by showing your respect for hygiene. Individually wrapped and sealed for sanitary conditions, they come in sets of pairs for simple distribution. Each package contains 100 pairs (200 individual covers), in an easy-open box that doubles as a dispenser for the covers.

Video: How to measure the size of your disposable headphone covers

For the style-conscious, Caractere manufacturers them in both black and white versions. Check our website for more information and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Our staff is standing by to ensure your transition into this new school year goes as smoothly as possible. Finally, we want to wish the best of luck to the teachers and students out there!

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Recycling and Respect for the Environment Surge in the Hotel Industry: Three Simple Ways to Save Money and Earn the Respect of Guests

In the cutthroat hotel industry, price and the bottom line often trump other concerns, especially those for the environment. However, must it be this way? With three innovative and brilliant ideas, industry leaders such as Travelodge, the Crown Spa Hotel and the Accor Group are showing how changes from the smallest detail (light bulbs) to more major ones (construction materials) can both make a world of difference and save unbelievable amounts of money. Now, both Mother Nature and your bank account can smile at the same time!

Starting from Scratch with Recycled Building Materials

 

from Caractère

Uxbridge Container Hotel

First, the hotel’s construction can be rethought of as a method of recycling. Sushil Cheema of The Wall Street Journal reported at the end of 2008 about a new innovation in hotel building design: the first hotel ever built in the UK entirely out of former shipping containers. While most people cannot imagine spending a night inside of an empty tin box, Travelodge found a method to renovate the containers in Shenzen, China (their place of origin), ship them halfway around the world and assemble them together in a solid structure in Uxbridge, a suburb of London. Instead of the roughly fifteen month to two year construction period that a traditional hotel of this size would take, the company managed to finish the project in a matter of four months, including the time it took to pour the foundation. Once the site was ready, it only took 20 days to piece together the 86 containers into a coherent design. A spokesman for Travelodge, Greg Dawson, commented that this new method eases concerns about disturbing the surrounding area during construction. With pre-fabricated units, the contractor, Verbus Systems, just snapped them together “like giant Lego blocks,” without interrupting shoppers at the nearby high street.

 

from Caractère

Interior of the Container Hotel

Despite the fact that the company accomplished major savings by choosing this unconventional building method, they can charge the same prices for rooms as at any other location, and eco-friendly or design engaged tourists may flock to the site just to learn more about how it was built. For Travelodge, which plans to open a new hotel in the UK once a week for the next ten years, the shipping container idea will help the chain achieve its growth targets without worry. Uxbridge’s location was nothing more than a test site: the company completed a similar project at Heathrow Airport later that year.

Read more about the “Hotel Made of Shipping Containers Opens in England,” at http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2008/08/27/hotel-made-of-shipping-containers-opens-in-england/
For an interesting collection of pictures of container re-use, see http://xhadong.wordpress.com/

Together, Several Small Changes Can Go Quite a Long Way

Second, if your establishlment is already built, don’t fret, because it’s not too late! Adapting exisiting buildings and their infrastructure to new developments in the energy and appliance industries can lead to profound changes in the site’s energy use – and deep savings for your pocketbook! Managers have found that many guests tend to leave the lights or a TV on when they leave the room in order to feel more welcomed when they return. Even more guests forget to turn off the heat or air conditioning when they check out, augmenting energy bills to acclimate an empty room. EnjoyEngland.com, in partnership with The Telegraph, points out that Scarborough’s Crown Spa Hotel has retrofitted its 116 rooms and suites with an automatic switch that turns off non-essential lights and appliances the moment one leaves the room. Of course this change took some initial investment, but even simple changes at the four star establishment — like replacing conventional light bulbs with LED lights in parts of the building — have provided incredible energy savings. In fact, starting in 2011, the hotel will see a quarter of a million pound (£250,000) reduction per year on its annual energy bill.

 

from Caractère

Crown Spa Hotel

Aside from energy savings, the hotel also started collecting rain water from the roof to wash its linens and flush toilets, began composting kitchen waste and switched to a wood-burning stove to heat the lobby. The staff has been told to turn off computers and lights while on break or lunch, and the caretakers added a special, non-toxic, heat-insulating chemical to the pool to reduce overnight cooling. After this series of little changes, the hotel has already seen dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions, and aims to halve its emissions by 2015. The hotel’s administrative director, David Frank, commented he’s an “evangelical ‘greenie’ and [that he’s] proud to be one… We don’t ram our message down people’s throats but sustainability is efficiency and it makes good economic and business sense to think about sustainability.”

Read more about “The Crown Spa Hotel’s green credentials impressed the Enjoy England judges enough to pick up the Sustainable Tourism Award,” at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/enjoy_england_trips/7658371/Enjoy-England-The-Crown-Spa-Hotel.html

Special Events to Transform Consumer Consciousness, Brand Perception and the World’s Quality of Life

Starting this Friday, the Accor Group of hotels will innaugurate the fifth edition of its annual Earth Guest Day. David Woods of HR Magazine writes that the holiday was created in 2006 with eight guiding principles:

  • Contributing to local development
  • Fighting against epidemics
  • Promoting balanced food
  • Managing energy consumption
  • Conserving water
  • Producing less waste
  • Protecting biodiversity

Locations and staff across the 90 countries with Accor locations, including the 160 hotels in the UK, will celebrate the occassion with a series of events, such as tree plantings in parks, gardens, schools and other public areas across the country to bring attention to its Fruits for the Children campaign, a partnership between the charity Plan UK and Accor’s Plant for the Planet foundation. The goals of this particular campaign include the following:

Fruits for Children is a project to improve the nutrition of 4,000 school children from 8 schools in the Machakos district of Kenya through planting fruit trees to provide a steady year-round supply of nutritious fruits to improve their diet. The project also aims to develop children’s knowledge of their environment, and their skills and techniques in fruit production, improving their standards of living as the acquired skills are transferred to their families and communities. The trees also help to reduce the problem of soil erosion and the fruits produced provide a source of income for the participating schools.

 

from Caractère

An Accor Ibis Hotel

Through the previous years’ efforts, Accor already raised more than £100,000 in the UK for Fruits for the Children. Plant for the Planet dates from 2009, a program instituted by the chain’s headquarters to finance the replanting of depleted forests worldwide. Thus far, over 1.7 million trees have been planted, with the UK Accor locations financing the planting of 30,000 trees in 2010 alone. The system is rather simple, but will leave a lasting impression on the plant, animal species and families who call these forests home, in addition to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every five times guests reuse a bath towel without requiring its wash, the company vows to plant a tree. The goal for 2011 in the UK is an astounding 50,000 trees, nearly twice as many as last year.

Read more about “Accor Hotel Group employees gear up for global environmental initiative,” at http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1019312/accor-hotel-group-employees-gear-global-environmental-initiative

Lessons Learned

As you can see, everything from minute changes in supplies or practices to ways to rethink construction methods can reduce a hotel’s environmental impact, in addition to the charges it must pay. At Caractère, we celebrate the efforts of the hotel industry to reduce its environmental impact by guaranteeing that all of our products, such as the famous bed mattress covers, sanitary headphone covers, and salon products like sandals; are reusable, recyclable or biodegradable. We design our products with ecological pricipals in mind so they are manufactured out of mostly plant-based materials with a minimal amount of chemical treatments and dyes.

In addition, over the coming months, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint by relocating our offices to a location much closer to our shipping providers, and also easier for our staff to make the commute via mass transit. The world is constantly evolving, and just like you, we care about the envionment too!

Client Feedback for the Disposable Protective Headphone Cover

from Caractère Paris

Black Headphone Covers

Recently, we received an email from a client that reflects how almost everyone feels about the usefulness of our protective headphone covers.

To: Caractère Paris
From: L. D. L.
Date: March 27, 2011
Subject: Protective Covers for Headsets

For years, I have been looking for sanitary headphone protectors exactly like the ones I ordered from Caractère. In fact, I manage a training room equipped with telephones that use microphone and headphone attachments. Nothing could sound more mundane, am I right? However, over the years, those pesky little creatures so well known by our school children started to make their appearance even on the adult students in my classes. After several complaints from our interns over the course of a few months, I wondered how anyone more than 10 years old could get head lice. It turns out that yes, the infestation was due to our headsets and microphones. Confirmation of these suspicions came from a closer inspection of the headphones, and more specifically, their design. The earphones came with a faux leather and foam pad to increase their comfort. It is very easy to imagine that when students placed the earphones on their heads, they “harvested” a few of the nasty buggers, and in the process slowly transferred them from one student to the next. Once I figured out the cause of the problem, I had to quickly find a solution.

My first impulse was to buy an anti-lice disinfectant spray to instantly annihilate the pests on the headphones. After a few phases of trial and error, I realised this was probably not the best idea. The spray acts as a corrosive to the foam ear phone pads and eventually eats through them. So, I scoured the internet to see if anyone sold disposable headphone covers, with the disposable part of the protection essential given the nature of our media centre’s issues. My idea was to provide each student with a pair of headphone protectors at the beginning of the session that he or she could use throughout the day and then discard on the way out of the training room. Over the years, due to the gradual wear and tear of the equipment, the room had become equipped with a wide variety of headsets from different manufacturers, of course in various shapes and designs. This problem was multiplied by four when one factored in the four different earpiece sizes in the room.

from Caractère Paris

White Protective Headset Cover

So, I did an Internet search to find the ideal sanitary protection cover for this assortment of headphones. A few clicks later, voila, I discovered Caractère, a French manufacturer that makes a wide range of disposable covers for headphone earpieces and microphones. After inquiring about their availability and measuring the sizes of my headphones, I was beyond happy to discover they make the covers available in six different sizes and two colours, black and white. Still hesitant about the possibility of having found a fix this quickly and easily, I asked them to send samples to ensure they would work.

After receiving the samples, which fit perfectly, I was convinced and placed my first order. The protective covers come wrapped in pairs in small, individually sealed bags, with what must have been a hundred pairs of covers per box. Since then, I’ve been using these protectors for the centre’s headsets for a year and a half, and I am very satisfied (not to mention, so are the students!) that the lice issue was finally solved.

Remaining in close contact with the manufacturer, I asked if they could provide a similar form of protection for microphones. We needed disposable protectors that could be added on top of the foam of the microphone attachments without causing any audio distortion. Of course, there is a very wide variety of microphone designs and sizes. I found out that a bulk custom order of 5000 pieces would be ideal, but since it was too large a quantity our needs, we opted for a newly developed microphone sanitation spray that can effectively disinfect microphone foam without damaging it. The anti-bacterial, fungicidal and anti-viral spray is also certified for food contact, which means the user can put his or her lips on the foam without any concerns for its effects on health or wellness. The case is now closed, and we’ve finally found the ideal solutions to our headphone and microphone problems, thanks to Caractère.

Finally, here is a short video we made about how to choose the right size of Disposable Headphone Protector before you order.