At a recent stay at a Seattle hotel — Cedarbrook Lodge, I highly recommend it, read my review (scroll down to Jan E.) — I encountered a product that was new to me, Green Natura soap. What’s new about soap? This soap is shaped like an oval donut. Yes, with a hole.

Green Natura soapWhat’s the point of that? To quote the packaging, “This innovative ergonomically shaped waste-reducing soap has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars.” The label goes on to say the soap has no animal fats or byproducts.

The packaging, too, is green in that it’s made from recycled paper with soy ink. (Of course the fact that there is packaging at all is NOT green.) Whether soap with a  hole is in fact less wasteful for hotels is debatable (see a discussion). I can attest that the peculiar shape is easy to hold onto (although “ergonomic” seems a bit of a stretch). The exfoliating soap felt like most oatmeal soaps, but richer. The same manufacturer also provided a smaller facial soap shaped like a leaf (no oatmeal).

These soaps are sold online for about $1 a bar at the web sites of hotels managed by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, such as Yellowstone National Park’s..