Cruise line donating discarded toiletry items

Hotel News - 02/03/2009

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"You start doing the math," said Stein Kruse, who is the CEO and president of Holland America Cruises. "You take thousands of people, thousands of these bottles and you multiply over several weeks and months the numbers go into the tens if not the hundreds of thousands."

Until the cruise operator launched a new charitable program, the thousands of soaps and bottles of shampoo – whether used or not – were sent to landfill.

Holland America has come up with a use for those items, however, and they are now collected and separated into bins before being brought through customs at some of the cruise line’s ports of call.

Although the cruise operator doesn’t derive any income from the effort, and the process is considerably more labor-intensive than simply throwing the items into the trash, it is donating the toiletry items to charities that work with the needy and homeless.

The program, which was launched in Seattle last year, where the cruise line is based, is called Ship to Shelter. In January of this year, the program was expanded to Port Everglades, which is near Fort Lauderdale, in Florida.

The Cooperative Feeding Program provides hot meals for 400 people each day and also showers for men and women who are homeless. It has experienced a significant decline in contributions in recent months, due to the economic downturn.

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