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Carolyn Thoroski, a housekeeping supervisor at a Westin Trillium House hotel in Blue Mountain, Canada, sometimes dreams up new ways to make the world a better place.
About a year ago, Thoroski had noticed that her staff threw away many white sheets every day, since hotel bed linens have a relatively short life cycle. The vast majority of these sheets are chucked in a landfill. But what if there were a way to turn them into something else–like, say, pajamas for kids in need?
It’s not often that Thoroski’s idealistic notions materialize, but it just so happened that her bosses at Westin headquarters had recently put out a call to employees, soliciting ideas that would empower the communities in which they live and work. Of the 325 employees from around the world who submitted ideas, hers was selected. Now, over a thousand pajamas made from discarded Westin sheets will soon be given to children who really need them to get a good night’s sleep.
Textile waste is a well-known problem in the hotel industry. High-end hotels need to give each new guest fresh sheets, and the frequent laundering means that sheets wear out quickly. There isn’t an established or centralized method in the industry to recycle them.
Westin didn’t have the skills or infrastructure to make it happen themselves, so they relied on an NGO partner called Clean the World. This organization already works closely with hotels to collect partially used soaps and other toiletries, donating them to people in shelters. Westin asked Clean The World to study the problem of sheets and find a way to turn their dream into a reality.
Read the more about Westin's philanthropy by Elizabeth Segran at Fast Company.