Campus News

October 13, 2010

Hotel floats idea for soap savings

Emory Conference Center Hotel is redoubling its recycling efforts and adding a few interesting items to the list of those recycled and reused: used bars of soap and bottles of shampoo.

“Patrons take full advantage of the free soap we provide, but many guests leave the partially-used bars behind,” says Kathy Johnson, general manager of the hotel, which is owned by Emory. “One of my staff heard about ‘Clean the World’, a nonprofit group that promotes cleanliness and improved hygiene with families around the world.”

Clean the World takes partially used soaps, cleans and sanitizes them, then processes them for use in the United States and abroad. For example, she says, nearly 8,000 pounds of soap were distributed in Haiti in August as part of the ongoing relief effort there.

The reuse of soap bars is just one area where the hotel is exploring charitable and environmental efforts.

“We are also donating opened but unused shampoo and conditioner containers to Saint Mark’s United Methodist Church in Midtown for use in their outreach efforts to the local homeless population,” says Johnson.

“We discarded so many used bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. I am thrilled that now, not only are we reducing the amount of waste we generate, we are recycling it for use with groups that serve real needs.”

Emory Conference Center Hotel is “constantly looking for new and creative means to support our green business practices,” says Johnson.  Among its efforts:

• Cooking grease is taken from the kitchen facilities and reused in the biodiesel that fuels part of Emory’s Cliff shuttle fleet;

• Single stream recycling, a system where all paper fibers are mixed or comingled, that allows the hotel to increase the amount of materials recycled;

• A third of the hotel guests choose to conserve water and energy by not having their sheets and towels changed daily;

• LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the hotel expansion that opened in May 2009; and

• Certification by Green Seal Inc., and independent, nonprofit, environmental certification organization dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible products and services.

Johnson adds that she is “proud of our efforts to date, and we are always open to new ideas on how to reduce our impact on the environment.”

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