Ocean City Today

Local hotels, students help with soap recycling initiative

By Kara Hallissey | Nov 30, 2017
Courtesy of: Diane Brown On Nov. 16, 30 high school students from Worcester Preparatory School helped create 200 hygiene kits, which were donated to hurricane victims in Florida and Texas through the Clean the World initiative.

(Dec. 1, 2017) High school students at Stephen Decatur and Worcester Prep assisted in assembling hygiene kits for those in need last month, while also helping to promote Clean the World, an organization dedicated to saving lives by averting hotel waste from landfills.

“We partner with hotels and management companies to recycle soap, hygiene products and save lives,” said Marcus Thomas, the national sales manager for Clean the World. “Our CEO (Shawn Seipler) traveled all the time and wondered, ‘What do hotels do with the soap?’ They throw it away and it started him on this journey.”

Clean the World operates soap recycling centers in Orlando, Las Vegas and Hong Kong.

Since its inception in 2009, more than 40 million bars of Clean the World soap have been distributed in more than 115 countries. Thomas explained the process of how the soap bars are scraped before being melted down and sterilized a few times.

“Food stamps doesn’t cover toothpaste and toiletries. It can be hard to buy soap,” Thomas said. “Imagine if you were in that situation? How sick your child would be? They can’t go to school and get a good education to improve their quality of life. We are starting the initiative to get this program all over Ocean City. It all depends on you.”

In addition, the organization has diverted more than 14 million pounds of waste from landfills and Clean the World also provides hygiene kits to relief organizations throughout the United States.

The recycled soap and hygiene products are sent to children and families in countries with high pre-adolescent death rates because of pneumonia and diarrheal diseases such as cholera.

“These diseases can be eradicated by proper hygiene and it is important what we do,” Thomas said. “Instead of throwing the soap away, collect it, throw it in the bin and send to us. All bottled amenities go to a landfill and we give it a second life.”

About a year ago, Jackie Berger of the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street, attended a conference where she was impressed with the Clean the World initiative presented at the event.

“I wondered, ‘Why aren’t we doing this,’” Berger said. “I talked to my daughter and she was just as excited about it.”

Recently, Clean the World, the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, Marigot Beach Suites and the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association have partnered to spread the initiative to all hotels in the area.

“The ultimate goal is to get the whole town to join and have every hotel in Ocean City with more than 20 rooms signed up to participate,” Berger said. “By May, we hope to have a least 4,500 hotel rooms signed up.”

Berger’s daughter, Worcester Prep senior Maddie Simons, 17, has been instrumental in getting the word out about the project to local hotel owners and students at area schools.

“It makes me feel good to go around to all these hotel owners and have them listen to me,” Simons said. “A lot of them are very interested and excited.”

On Nov. 15, 21 students from the Stephen Decatur High School Connections Club helped assemble 168 hygiene kits, which were donated to Diakonia. The nonprofit organization provides emergency and transitional housing, food services and counseling and assistance for guests in West Ocean City.

“Students learned about the large number of homelessness in our area and the services provided at Diakonia,” said Laurie Chetelat, a teacher and advisor for the Connections Club at Stephen Decatur High School. “Ally Jones, a junior at Stephen Decatur High School and a member of Connections, organized this project with our group.”

The hygiene kits included shampoo, soap, deodorant, washcloths, razors, toothpaste, a toothbrush and a handwritten card with words of encouragement.

“By involving local students in this worthwhile project, we are hoping to create a better understanding of the real needs in our community,” said Susan Jones, executive director for the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.

On Nov. 16, 30 high school students from Worcester Preparatory School helped create 200 hygiene kits, which were donated to hurricane victims in Florida and Texas.

“There are so many benefits and it helps save lives,” Simons said. “Also, its environmentally friendly and is helping to bring the Ocean City community together.”

The kits included necessities such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, wash cloths, razors, conditioner and a handwritten note.

“Building hygiene kits is a great team building event and helps people in our own backyards,” Thomas said. “Imagine the impact we could have. I encourage you guys to take pride in what you are doing. It makes a difference.”

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