Sustainable soap

June 3, 2019

Yale’s Facilities Services recently started a sustainable hand-soap program in the residential colleges where refillable containers of a highly-concentrated foam soap mixed with water have replaced the plastic throwaway plastic containers. Two bags of the new soap mix equal what would have been contained in 60 of the original plastic throwaway soap containers. In addition, the containers and sometimes unused soap, would have ended up in the trash. 

The new program results in a huge overall supply-chain savings. The reduced quantity of throwaway containers results in fewer boxes. This, in turn, results in fewer emissions, less cardboard waste, and less labor needed to move multiple heavy boxes into storage. There is also a cost savings of 15 cents per liter of soap.

“We are always looking for ways to be more sustainable,” said Jeff Hughes, facilities services area manager, Residential Colleges and Old Campus. This great idea came from Yale Hospitality, who installed these soap containers in their kitchens. “Kudos need to be given to Monica Gallegos, who suggested we try this,” said Hughes.

Monica, facilities superintendent for Berkeley and Grace Hopper Colleges, transferred from Yale Hospitality. She suggested doing a three-month trial in her area. The containers and soap received rave reviews from staff and students and are now in all 14 residential colleges, Old Campus, and 272 Elm Street–the newest graduate housing dormitory.

There is a plan in place to bring this green-soap program to the rest of the university. Stay tuned!