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Clean the World Employee Sees the Big Picture

Chris Mares was just looking for a job when he came to work at Clean the World, but he found a lot more. Recycling soap in the operations department opened up an opportunity for him to flex his artistic muscles and make the Orlando production facility a nicer place for employees and visitors. 

When co-founders Shawn Seipler and Paul Till found out that Chris had an interest in painting and a formal art education, they gave him the green light. 
On the facility’s back wall, Chris painted a large mural depicting the Clean the World logo and the flags of every country where soap has been distributed.
“A lot of what I’ve done is still a work in progress,” Chris said. “For example, the big mural on the back wall started off as just a logo and the background. I studied it for about two months and then thought about all the dead space around the logo. I thought it needed something else. I got the idea from military insignias on uniforms that indicate where soldiers have served. That inspired me to paint the flags of all the countries where we have distributed soap. When it started there were 15 or 20, now we have more than 60.”
Other pieces painted by the Kansas native include a large area that lists the names of donors, and a massive space near the soap press where he painted the logo, a series of bubbles and the slogan, “Recycling Soap Saves Lives.”
Chris was blessed with natural artistic talent, and went on to hone his skills at the San Francisco Art Institute. While studying there he got his first taste of large-format painting after landing a job with an interior designer who was the sole occupant of a four-story building.
“He commissioned me to paint a sign on the outside of building. The sign was was 40 feet high and was executed from a scaffold. I painted a chair that was 30 feet high – and 10-foot letters. It took several months and was a great experience.”
Chris went on to graduate with straight A’s from the Kansas City Art Institute, where he was allowed to skip a semester and graduate early. After becoming a father, however, he decided to go in a different career direction.
“With a family, I couldn’t fathom how I could make a living with art,” Chris said. “So I went into the construction business. I stuck with it and became a mason. Once I began laying stone it really went nuts because I was back into artistic composition. I had such a good time with that.”
When the economy dipped and construction was on the decline, Chris spent some time building interstate bridges in downtown Orlando.
“Whenever I drive past the 408 and I-4 interchange, I point to those bridges and tell whoever is with me that I’ve been on, in and under every one of them.”
Now that his kids are grown, Chris is excited to embrace his artistic side again.
“I didn’t expect this to happen when I came to work here, but it began to emerge over time,” Chris said. “I was looking for ways to help out within the context of my experience. The warehouse really did need some aesthetic improvement. Luckily there is still a long way to go. I can stay busy with this project for quite a while.”

AH&LA Partners With Clean the World

The American Hotel & Lodging Association issued this press release regarding our partnership:


Members receive savings through soap, bottled amenities recycling

Washington, February 11, 2013 – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has joined forces with Clean the World Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that collects and recycles used soap and bottled amenities from hotels, to offer AH&LA members an exclusive additional five percent discount per room.
More than 1,700 hotels across North America currently participate in the program. Since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 12 million bars of soap to homeless shelters and in countries suffering from high death rates due to acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease, the top killers of children under the age of five.

Properties that participate in the initiative receive a quarterly impact statement detailing the total weight of the amenities shipped and an Interactive Impact Calculator that calculates the lifesaving impact of their donations. Hotels also are given bilingual training posters (English and Spanish) and access to an online training video for housekeeping staff. Information cards are available for guestrooms, as well as plaques that can be displayed in the lobby educating guests on the program. Additionally, hotels can organize soap drives for their communities, in addition to other volunteer opportunities.

“Clean the World’s innovative combination of green sustainability and humanitarian efforts already has attracted support from many hotel chains and resorts,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney, CHA. “We are pleased to be able to offer our members an additional discount to participate in such a worthy program.”

“The North American hospitality industry puts more than 300 tons of soap and plastic bottles in local landfills every day,” said Clean the World CEO/Co-founder Shawn Seipler. “With this partnership, we are eager to increase the industry’s awareness of our socially-responsible recycling programs and engage more hotel companies and individual properties in our efforts to both prevent needless waste and provide essential hygiene items, as well as stem the tide of deaths due to lack of proper hygiene.”

For additional information and to participate in the program, visit www.ahla.com/green.

# # #
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members. Visit www.ahla.com.
Clean the World Foundation Inc,. is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization with the mission of saving millions of lives around the globe. Clean the World leads a global hygiene revolution to distribute recycled soap and hygiene products from more than 1,700 hospitality partners to children and families suffering from high death rates due to the top two killers of children worldwide – acute respiratory infection (pneumonia) and diarrheal diseases (cholera). Since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 12 million bars of soap. Through the “ONE project” launched in late 2012, Clean the World provides hygiene kits domestically to the homeless and families in transition. For more information, visit www.cleantheworld.org.

New Nashville Star: Gaylord Opryland Resort

Nashville has produced a few overnight sensations over the years – and the latest one is a soap star: The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Since adopting our soap and amenity recycling program in April of last year, the housekeeping team has collected 6,204 pounds of soap, which means 33,088 newly pressed bars will be distributed to children and families in need worldwide. They also collected 4,657 pounds of bottled amenities, bringing the total amount collected to 10,861 pounds, or 5.4 tons.
Thanks, Gaylord Opryland, for the incredible effort!
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