Is this a green soap to you?

I read an article from the New York Times’ Green Inc. blog about their interview with hotelier Richard Spigler, president of Great Addresses, the company that manages the Carlyle and also the Savoy Suites in D.C.

Spigler talked about, among other green things, their hotel’s green soap called Green Natura, which he said prevents soap from being wasted because of its hollowed-out doughnut like shape.

“With the Natura product, you still have a feeling like a nice big bar of soap,” but without wasting as much.”

I am not a fan of soaps in general as I don’t like it when they become unusable small lumps (and sometimes clog my bathtub). But thinking of the design of this soap, shouldn’t it break easily during usage because it’s hollowed? How then can it prevents soap from being wasted?

Googling the Green Natura soap, it is labeled in several internet shopping sites as a waste reducing exfoliating body cleanser with this introduction:

“This innovative ergonomically shaped “waste reducing” soap has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars. This soap is cruelty free and contains no animal fat or byproducts. The carton is made from natural recycled packaging and printed with soy based inks.”

Further googling revealed this comment from “Jane says” blog:

There goes green soaps for you!

19 Responses to Is this a green soap to you?

  1. Robbo 3 June, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    I think that a hollowed out bar of soap would work in a hotel because people have a natural revulsion to walking into a hotel bathroom and finding soap that’s been used by someone else.

    That is stupid and irrational, I know. My calm rational self tells me that the outer layer of soap is clean because you can wash the dirt off it. But, the tired irascible business traveller in me wants to get into a hot bath with a clean bar of soap at the end of the day. He’s the person that the hotel needs to get back through the door.

    Hollow soap works because hotel’s get to give you a big bar of soap. That’s about being a good host.
    Hotel marketing executives are probably lying in their baths fondly imagining their hotel is full of guests shouting “Hey Martha, only $600/night and they give you 15 cu inches of soap, that’s what I call a deal!”

    They probably throw away much less soap with each new guest.

    Bar soap is a much better deal than liquid soaps, which are around 50% water. With a bar of soap you get 100% soap. If you end up with a small noggin of soap at the end of the bar put it in a jar and start collecting. Within the year you’ll be able to add some water and then make a shiny new multicoloured bar out of the remains. That’s reducing and recycling (if a bit tight fisted).

    Pass the loofah!

  2. ICBchief 4 June, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    That hollowed out green soap is one of the silliest things I’ve heard of!
    Of course there’s going to be something left over anyway – it just won’t be the middle part! Nice break there!

  3. Doris 4 June, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Hey, I wouldn’t use somebody else’s used soap myself (that’s gross! what hotel would let customers use Used soaps?!?), but I do agree that bar soaps are probably way cheaper for them than liquid soap.

    I still don’t get that hollowed design though.

    But the soap recycling thing especially from hotels and other institutions could be a good green idea. I guess soap manufacturers have to clean them up first before reproducing them again (such as removing hairs and dead skin cells — eeewww!).

  4. Ken 20 June, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    What a ridiculous idea!!!! Hollowed out soap to be “waste reducing!!!!” I just got one at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Atlanta. Who managed to sell them on this crazy idea????

  5. Graham's Travel Blog 21 June, 2009 at 6:55 am #

    The hollow soap is pure marketing fluff. I was intrigued when I found one of these bars at a hotel so I wrote about it at

    I took one of these bars home for photographs and I eventually used it to completion (something that I didn’t get to in my short hotel stay. It only took about 4 days for it to break apart into smaller, less usable, pieces.

    One of my commenters pointed out that this would be the case because of the increased surface area of the design. Water will erode the bar from two directions in a hollowed out bar.

    I disagree on the liquid soap issue because it can be purchased in bulk. I have seen combination shampoo/body wash that works pretty well. If you have to have a little bottle for the shampoo, why not make it a big bottle and mount it to the wall.

  6. Hank 5 July, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    I came across Green Natura brand bath products during my recent hotel stay. Does anyone have any information on the soap/company? What are the ingredients, does it have any chemicals, is it organic? The name is bland enough that searching online doesn’t come up with much info.

  7. Alisha 13 July, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    So far I’ve only been able to find the company that distributes this product:

    I’m still trying to track down the list of ingredients….

  8. louise starrantino 23 January, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    i loved the green natura hallow center soap when i used it in a california hotel. i found it easy to hold and it did not slip out of my hand i want to buy these for personal use and have recomended them to my friens however i would please like a list of ingredients as i have allergies to certain chemicals and oils please if any one has found the ingredients please g mail me thank you

  9. vdog 20 March, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    Terrific idea! We used it at the Grand Canyon. Since hotels obviously have to throw out soap after each guest stay, they are throwing out much less soap rather than a partial bar.

    Kudos! Go Green! Reduce / Reuse / Recycle man

  10. Bryan's Blabb 19 May, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Encountered this odd soap for the first time in Death Valley and immediatley realized that it must be a counter part to low water usage. The odor I found to be mildly refreshing with no greasey or drying effects. The one thing I found wastefull was that the room service were replacing the bars every day despite the amount of usage. I like this soap enough to buy some for home use because it will remind us of the fun we have in Death Valley.

  11. andy 1 June, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    some one gave a bar of this soap to my wife and i as a stocking stuffer or something… i think it’s a perfect example of “green washing” i.e. making something appear to be “eco-friendly” for marketing purposes only… I’m pretty sure that whatever soap might be saved by cutting a hole in the middle of the bar, is totally off-set by waste of packaging and shipping. a whole truck-load of these bars only delivers half as much soap as a truck-load of real soap bars, and burns just as much diesel to get to your hotel. My verdict: give me the rest of my soap back.

  12. miked 4 July, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Well, to each their own, but this soap does exactly what it says it does. Perfect for hotels since it does waste less soap. I used it recently in a hotel in Boulder and it is an excellent soap as well. I found no downside to having the center hollowed out.
    Most definitely doesn’t burn as much diesel. Ignorance is not bliss…

  13. barbc 17 July, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    Hard to believe this is truly “green”. How many people stay more than one night in a hotel? How much is being thrown out? How much more tooling did it take to cut the hole in the box? And it appears that the hole in the soap was reamed out of the center rather than molded that way. What happens to the discarded soap?

    The best deal is that you have a handle to prevent it from falling out of your hand, but that won’t last for long….see picture above. It was actually a bit awkward to use.

  14. Lee Clukey 28 July, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Can anyone tell me the name of the company that makes this soap and how to find where to buy it? Thanks

  15. Darren 1 August, 2010 at 11:38 pm #


    You can purchase it online from the Yellowstone Parks website managed by Xanterra. They do a bang-up job running the amenities at the parks and at a buck a bar you will have a bar of soap with a handle in the shower or tub.

    Hope this helps – follow the url below:

  16. Darren 1 August, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    We used this product while staying in Yellowstone National Park. The lodges and inns provided it. May 10 year old daughter thought it very novel so in the evening, after using it, we put it in the soap dish and let it dry overnight. Since we stayed in three different locations in the park, and never requested room service if we stayed overnight (about as green as you can get – reuse the soap and the towels you used), we had three bars of the soap, one bear, and two leaf soaps from the same company to take home with us for the bathroom. The soap was dry in the morning when we left and we simply slid it into their original boxes and into our luggage.

    Green? Yes, if the guests reuse it in their homes, but not if you leave it behind.

  17. Randy 8 August, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    I’m no tree hugger, so I find this green “religion” to be a bit much. However, I discovered these soaps at Yellowstone this summer (staying in the cheapest accommodation in the park, a 90-yr-old cabin at Lake Lodge for $68/night that was only $2/night in 1961), and these toiletries (holey bar, leaf bar, bear, shampoo, and moisturizer) were the highest quality I’ve ever encountered. They are wonderful. I’ve traveled Europe for 45 years and stayed in hundreds of fine hotels, and these soaps were better than any I’ve seen before. The ecological advantages (biodegradable plastics, etc.) are just a nice bonus. I’ll be ordering some from YP for gifts. Note for those wondering about the ingredients: if the manufacturer went to such great lengths with the packaging and quality of the product, don’t you imagine that they used the safest and best ingredients too? Better you worry about our disastrous new government than the contents of these soaps.

  18. David K 23 April, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I can’t believe that one single person would actually like this soap. My aunt and uncle had a bar of this soap at their house, and I guess the engineer in me took one glance at it and immediately recognized its stupidity. As someone else posted, the soap will erode in multiple directions which will result in MORE soap use, and will result in more unusable pieces rather than just one (the photo from the “Jane says” blog is exactly what I figured would happen).

    Also, as someone else posted, the box the soap comes in has to be made larger per ounce of product than a normal bar of soap, wasting more resources. Yes, the box could be made of recycled materials, but those materials could have been put to better use. Also, more energy is wasted in the production of this product to make an odd-shaped box, since additional tooling is needed, as stated above.

    It absolutely amazes me that some people that commented here actually LIKE this soap. I guess it’s along the same lines of why McDonalds is still in business: people actually LIKE CRAP. There’s no other way to explain it. This product is PURE CRAP.

  19. Angela Lipman 27 April, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    My daughter brought a bar of this home from school today (I don’t know why). I sincerely thought it was some kind of joke!

    To say it is any more efficient than the butter pat-sized pieces of soap that hotels now use is ludicrous.

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