Hollywood Slots hotel first in Maine to recycle bath products

Alicia Simshauser, a room attendant at Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway in Bangor, collects bar and liquid soap while cleaning a room Friday morning. The soap is sent to a company in Orlando, Fla., where it is sanitized and will be shipped to countries in need. The hotel now recycles about 120 pounds of soap a week and the amount is expected to increase as the summer season approaches
Alicia Simshauser, a room attendant at Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway in Bangor, collects bar and liquid soap while cleaning a room Friday morning. The soap is sent to a company in Orlando, Fla., where it is sanitized and will be shipped to countries in need. The hotel now recycles about 120 pounds of soap a week and the amount is expected to increase as the summer season approaches
Posted March 25, 2011, at 5:53 p.m.
Last modified March 25, 2011, at 9:38 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Not long ago, the hospitality staff at Hollywood Slots Hotel would throw away every morning hundreds of bars of soap and bottles of shampoo and body lotion — much of it unused.

In a year, the 152-room hotel tossed out 75,000 bars of soap alone, Manager David Beaudoin said.

For the first time, the hotel now has another option.

Hollywood Slots recently became the first hotel in Maine to join Clean the World, a national nonprofit organization that distributes recycled bath products to Third World countries and impoverished areas of this country.

Beaudoin said he heard a story about the program on National Public Radio last year and inquired about bringing it to Bangor.

“We’re proud to be the first hotel property in Maine to join this innovative recycling program,” Beaudoin said. “Clean the World has proven itself to be a positive force in the hospitality industry, including many properties that feature gaming.”

Clean the World, headquartered in Orlando, Fla., is the largest global recycler of hotel amenities, according to its website. In just two years of operation, the nonprofit has distributed more than 8 million bars of soap to children and families in the United States, Haiti and 40 additional countries worldwide.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to extend our recycling reach into Maine for the good of people everywhere,” said Shawn Seipler, executive director at Clean the World. “Hollywood Slots joins an impressive list of hotel properties in the United States and Canada that are discovering the benefits and benevolence of providing hotel amenities as lifesaving resources for children and families.”

For the staff at Hollywood Slots, little has changed, Beaudoin said. Instead of dumping unused products into the trash, hotel maids collect the items in plastic bags, which are dumped into large collection bins. Once full, those bins are shipped to Clean the World operations in Florida for processing. Empty bins are sent to take their place.

At Clean the World, the products are sanitized or, in the cases of soap, melted down and reformed into new bars and are then redistributed. The soaps and cleaning products help to promote better hygiene and fight simple diseases, the threat of which is often taken for granted in the United States.

It costs Hollywood Slots 65 cents per room per month to implement the Clean the World recycling program.

“It’s definitely more of a humanitarian thing than a recycling or cost-saving measure,” Beaudoin said. “It seemed like the right thing to do.”

Hollywood Slots, owned by Penn National Gaming of Wyomissing, Pa., has operated in Bangor since 2005 but the hotel didn’t open until 2008.

So far, Clean the World has partnered with nearly 780 hotel properties in North

America to provide soaps and bottled amenities to people in need. The recycling effort has diverted an estimated 550 tons of hotel waste from landfills in the U.S. and Canada.

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