Soap Intervention at the Michigan League
By Julie Metea
The Inn at the Michigan League has joined other U.S. hotels in an effort to eliminate waste of in-room toiletries. Instead of tossing out soap bars and half used shampoo bottles, the League is repurposing them through a sustainability program to help impoverished children improve their health.
In January, the Inn partnered with Clean the World, a Florida-based organization that collects partially used toiletries from nearly 2,500 hotels, sterilizes them and distributes them to the disadvantaged in North America and more than 90 other countries.
Now in its sixth year, Clean the World is dedicated to preventing millions of deaths caused by acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease, which accounts for 34 percent of under-five deaths. According to the World Health Organization, millions of young lives could be saved with access to bar soap and hygiene education.
After hearing about the unique program, Michigan League Director Xavier Wilson got the Inn certified as a program partner. “We’re continually looking for environmentally friendly opportunities. Sustainability is embedded in our values at the University of Michigan. We’re embracing it every day and doing our part,” he said.
The League’s housekeeping staff went through training and instructional posters were displayed. Clean the World bins are now used to collect discarded items out of the Inn’s 21 rooms and then the hygiene products are shipped for processing.
Once arriving to Clean the World’s recycling center, bar soap is first surface cleaned. The soap is then sterilized with a process that has been tested and validated by SGS North America. The sterilized soap is ground, and the soap grounds are inserted into a soap manufacturing line and re-pressed into brand new bars. The bars are boxed and often palletized for distribution to those in need all over the world.
Every major hotel chain participates in the program, including Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Best Western International, and even the Walt Disney Resorts.
On central campus, the Inn at the Michigan League is a popular venue for conferences, weddings, and visiting parents. Visit the website for more information and reservations.