ORLANDO – For the hotel industry, it seemed like a no brainer.
Every time guests stay in their rooms or suites, they use – and leave behind – bars of soap in the bathroom or shower. The soap gets thrown away so fresh bars can be made available for the next person booking the room.
But rather than throw that soap away, why not recycle it – for a specific cause.
Patty L. Holland says the idea is simple – and ingenious.
“The housekeeping people take soap from the rooms, put them in a bin, and then Clean The World comes and picks up the bins,” she said. “Then they’re shipped back to the facility in Orlando, they’re recycled, then sent out to undeveloped countries that need them. They’ve saved so many lives.”
Clean the World Foundation, Inc. was founded in February 2009, as a Florida not-for-profit corporation, to collect and recycle soap and shampoo products that would otherwise get thrown away by the local hospitality industry. These sanitary products are recycled at a facility in Orlando, and sent to impoverished nations suffering from a high death rate due to hygiene-related illnesses such as acute respiratory infection and diarrhea disease.
The non-profit has managed to accomplish its mission through a partnership with the hotels and resorts that have signed on to recycle their soap for this worthy cause, Holland said.
“When you go into your room and you leave your soap there, they get collected and they’re sterilized — including the Peabody Hotel duck soap,” she said. “I think this shows that the industry is a very tight knit bunch of folks, and they’re just joining in to support an initiative for a hygiene revolution.”
Now the hotel industry is going a step further, said Holland, the executive director of event operations and production for the upcoming Clean the World Inaugural Gala, designed to be a fund-raising event for this cause — and a big celebration bash as well.
Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Peabody Orlando, the reception begins at 6:15 p.m., with doors opening at 7:15. There will be food, drinks, a silent auction, and dancers from the five nations chosen by the gala to benefit from the money raised that night.
“This gala has taken on a life of its own,” Holland said. “What the gala is about is a group of hospitality industry professionals who got together. There will be five screens, three stages – it’s just a monster. We are highlighting five nations – the United States, India, Columbia, Rwanda and Haiti — during the show, and a celebrity host will give a narration of the history of Clean The World and why it was asked to help in those particular countries. There will also be dancers doing traditional dances from their respective nations.
“It’s a celebration of what we’ve been doing,” she added. “It’s not a tearjerker.”
It’s also a sign of just how passionate the hospitality industry feels about this cause, Holland added.
“We’re uniting,” she said. “Competition during the day, but that evening, they’re one united front. It’s an awesome feeling to see everyone jump on board. We all got together to put on this event, and Clean The World is getting the profits from it. I cannot tell you how many industry people have jumped on board to help this organization. Everything is being underwritten. It’s amazing. We’re expecting between 1,000 and 1,200 people. Disney has jumped on this, and VISIT Orlando is bringing in 12 tables of people. Literally every day there are more and more hotels that jump on board.”
Even more importantly, she said, it promotes a cause that saves lives.
“The soap is sent to over 42 countries,” she said. “They’ve only two years ago, but they have accomplished so much.”
To learn more about this event, call Holland at 407-352-5740, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.cleantheworld.org.
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