Recycled Hotel Soap: a Lifesaver for Children in the Developing World

hotel soap collection
Hotel soap: a lifesaver?

I was on the road for several days earlier this month, and used bars of soap in the hotels in which I stayed. Of course, I didn’t use the whole bars… and left the remainder for the housekeeping staff. I assume that soap ended up in the trash.

Seem like a huge sustainability challenge? I haven’t given it much thought until I came across Clean the World today. According to this non-profit:

  • We throw away around 1 million bars of soap a day in the US.
  • Bar soap can reduce deaths of children from pneumonia andΒ diarrheal disease… which kill around 9,000 kids a day.

So, send that used soap to the developing world? Sounds kind of nasty and unsanitary, right? Clean the World has developed a process to sanitize that used hotel soap (as well as leftover shampoo), reform it into new bars, and then gets it to parts of the world that can use it. They’ve also partnered with a number of hotel chains to collects all those used little bars… Check out the video below for more details on their work.

Doesn’t get much more simple than that… or more important. Clean the World is just one of five innovative non-profit recycling programs that Elizah Leigh profiled over at Organic Authority.

via @ecosphericblog

UPDATE: Treehugger also found another non-profit doing similar work: the Global Soap Project.

Image credit: Phanton at Wikimedia Commons

  1. MattG.


    Thanks for the kind words about Clean the World (www.cleantheworld.org). We certainly appreciate it.

    Since our founding in 2009, Orlando, Fla.-based Clean the World has secured relationships with more than 1,050 hospitality partners to collect, recycle and distribute more than 8.5 million bars of soap in the United States, Canada, Haiti and more than 40 other countries. We’ve also helped divert more than 1.1 million lbs. (550 tons) of hotel waste from polluting local landfills.

    Also of interest, Clean the World was recently named the winner of the 2011 Florida Sustainability Best Practices Award for Leadership. We’re doing our best to recyle soap and save lives, while turning trash into treasure in our efforts to stop the spread of preventable diseases and create a cleaner, more sustainable world.

    Here’s a link to the blog post about our award: http://blog.cleantheworld.org/2011/06/clean-world-wins-sustainability-award.html

    Please visit our Clean the World website for more information about what we are doing and how we are growing in the future.

    Soap saves lives. Thanks for helping Clean the World.

  2. Arash

    “Clean the World” I like this phrase and I support you. I always had this qustion in my mind, what can we do to reduce this waste? can be a way to reuse these instead of throwing them out?
    Thanks for cleaning the world πŸ™‚

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