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Are The James Chicago's Eco-Friendly Keycards User-Friendly?

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  Site Where: 55 East Ontario [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
June 12, 2009 at 4:38 PM | by | Comment (1)

We already know Chicago's James Hotel is well ahead of the pack when it comes to sustainable, eco-friendly amenity madness (see the donut-esque soap which brought us great glee last week), but PSFK — who brought the green soap to our attention — also noted another environmentally-conscious feature from their recent visit: 100% recyclable keycards.

But as we learned from the great Denver Wooden Keycard Disaster of 2008, sometimes these things can be tricky and not-so-user-friendly.

Says PSFK:

The James card feels like a thick business card and has a matte finish on the front with a glossy varnish protecting the magnetic strip on the back.

So what we want to know is this: do these recyclable keycards function any less reliably than their not-as-green plastic counterparts? Anyone ever tried 'em?

Tell us. And someone please tell us, if these babies work just as well as the others, why all hotels haven't hopped on the bandwagon yet (er, providing they're somewhat affordable for hotels to get).

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100% biodegradable!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I work for the Jumeirah Essex House, and last year we faced this same dilemma: How to use environmentally friendly keycards that would actually work?  We found our answer in bioPVC cards.  These cards look, feel, and work just as well as the old plastic cards.  (We didn't want to give our guests a keycard that looked like cardboard and might disintegrate if used as a drink coaster).  The beauty of these cards is that you can reuse them an almost infinite number of times, and if a couple happen to end in the trash, they are 100% biodegradable, thus not harming the environment.  Yes, they do cost a couple cents more a piece, but we've been able to easily offset the cost with other energy saving initiatives.

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