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Oklahoma State Parks Set National Precedent with Clean the World
By Lindsay Vidrine
Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department
August 25, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Keli Clark
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department is pleased to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership between seven Oklahoma state parks and Clean the World (CTW), a non-profit, charitable organization, headquartered in Orlando, Fla.
Park maintenance staff at Boiling Springs, Great Salt Plains, Greenleaf, Keystone, Lake Wister, Osage Hills and Tenkiller State Parks will collect “gently-used” soaps and shampoos from their cabins, which will be cleaned, recycled and shipped to under-privileged countries or regions facing disaster, such as Haiti.
“We take great pride in the fact that our agency is able to directly participate in this program. These seven state parks and the Oklahoma State Park system are the first in the nation to partner with Clean the World. Our parks are taking a leadership role by joining the program and we hope this will encourage others to become partners in this effort,” said Hardy Watkins, executive director, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
Through the state’s ECO – Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma – sustainable travel initiative, the Oklahoma Tourism Department was also first to partner with Clean the World at the state level in September 2009 and continues to encourage its tourism industry to participate in the worthy program. Oklahoma currently has nine hotel and bed and breakfast properties donating toiletries to CTW.
The unique recycling of “gently-used” hotel soaps and shampoos, results in thousands of pounds of sterilized soap which become life-saving donations that improve personal hygiene, prevent diseases and reduce thousands of tons of hotel soaps and shampoos from being dumped into landfills every day.
CTW operates two recycling methods: Re-batching and Sterilization. Re-batching is applied to 30 percent of moderately- to heavily-used bars. Soap is “cooked” to remove all impurities and is re-formed into two-ounce bars. Sterilization is applied to 70 percent of the slightly used bars. Soap soaks in sterilization solution then is shock treated. This process completely eliminates harmful pathogens, making the products safe for reuse.
The initial fee required for the parks to participate in the program was funded by donations from the Oklahoma State Park Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of state parks.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is working to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes