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What to do with 2,500 lbs of used soap

One of the challenges of running a hotel that many of us, as guests, never think about is what happens to all those used bars of soap and partly used complimentary shampoos after a hotel stay. When you run the state's very first LEED-certified hotel, which year-after-year is awarded GreenSeal™ certification, it's counterintuitive to throw them out where they can end up as landfill for nearly a decade.

That's why Hotel Arista at CityGate Centre this week launched its partnership with Clean the World®, a social enterprise dedicated to the mission of saving millions of lives around the world while simultaneously diverting hotel waste from landfills. Hotel Arista’s initial shipment is composed of 2,500 lbs. of soap and bottled amenities that will be sanitized and recycled for distribution in poverty stricken countries.

“For years we’ve donated locally, for example to Hesed House which assists homeless families and to domestic violence shelters, and we’ll continue to do so,” said Hotel Arista Executive Housekeeper Micki Dobrowski who serves as the GreenSeal™ certified hotel’s green ambassador. “But there are restrictions when it comes to leftover toiletries, plus we simply had more than they could use, which led us to Clean the World with its sanitizing process, extensive distribution network and important mission.”

Dobrowski began collecting and storing the products mid-year 2017 as she searched for a recycling partner. After this initial shipment, Hotel Arista will regularly fill 35 lb. to 50 lb. capacity bins provided by Clean the World, sending them for sanitation and distribution as the bins fill.

“Even though our shampoo and conditioner bottles are biodegradable they can take 6 to 8 months to breakdown in a landfill,” Dobrowski said. “Soap bars are a bigger problem. They take 8 years to break down.

“There was no question this is the right thing to do,” she added.

Hotel Arista's Green Ambassador, Micki Dobrowski, loads products into Clean the World's 1,000 lb. shipping bin.

“Our hotel partners are the driving force behind the global hygiene revolution,” said Shawn Seipler, founder and CEO of Clean the World. “By making a commitment to sustainable, socially responsible programs in the hospitality industry, partners such Hotel Arista are using leftover soap and bottled amenities to help save lives.”

At the Nov. 13 kickoff, Hotel Arista management and staff sorted products to fill a dozen bins plus a 1,000 lb. box, but the group quickly discovered they need at least one more 1,000 lb. box from Clean the World to donate the existing inventory.

Clean the World operates soap recycling centers in Orlando, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and Punta Cana and leads a "Global Hygiene Revolution" to distribute recycled soap and hygiene products from more than 5,000 hotel and resort partners. The organization benefits children and families in countries with a high pre-adolescent death rate due to acute respiratory infection (pneumonia) and diarrheal diseases (cholera) – which are two of the top killers of children under the age of five.

Hotel Arista celebrated its 10th anniversary in September 2018 and, in addition to its environmental distinctions, is the only Illinois hotel outside of Chicago to hold either the Forbe’s Four Star or AAA Four Diamond distinctions.

The boutique hotel is independently owned and managed, and part of CityGate Centre’s 35-acre main campus along Route 59 between I88 and Ferry Rd. CityGate Centre also is home to restaurants – CityGate, Tap In Pub and Che Figata, and Zorba Lounge and Lavazza coffee shop – amenities including Arista Spa & Salon and Olympus Executive Fitness Center, and Class A Office property such as the international headquarters of Calamos Investments and of Primacy Business Center.

Hotel Arista management and staff sorted and loaded a dozen recycling bins with soap and bottled amenities. The biodegradable bottles used by Hotel Arista would take 6 to 8 months to breakdown in a landfill. A bar of soap takes 8 years to break down.

See NCTV17's coverage of the sorting event here.


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