Have you ever wondered, where all the once-used soap bars in hotel go? Probably, not the next guest.
Dude you know that this person has the same question when he saw a used soap bar?
Presenting Shawn Seipler, former employee of a tech company, one night looked at a soap he used and pondered on what fate it could face.
Clean the World, an Orlando-based company has spearheaded this genuine has taken to collecting used hotel soap, melting it down, and making new soap to send to impoverished countries. They’re saving landfill space locally, and perhaps saving lives globally.
The company’s idea has come in the midst of the world’s outcry over waste — paper, plastics, fumes, foods — your hotel soap ain’t exactly a crisis.
According to the data, travelers and hotels combine to toss out roughly a million bars a day in the US and perhaps 5 million bars a day worldwide.
“I called down to the front desk and asked what they did with all the leftover soap,” he says over looking at the soap.
The more Seipler looked into the situation, the more appalled he was at the scale of the waste in America. “That,” he says, “is when I learned about rebatching.”
Rebatching, a process that converts old soap into fresh soap: melting it down, reforming it, and turning it back out good as new. Once he learned soap could be recycled, Seipler began to research its uses.
Seipler has found that, worldwide, thousands of children die every day from ailments such as pneumonia and diarrhea, both of which the World Health Organization finds are largely preventable with proper hygiene.
“Then it was just a matter of figuring out how to get the soap to recycle, and getting into their hands,” he said.
“It was an aha moment, and I realized this was my calling. I called my Puerto Rican relatives and they said ‘let’s do it.’ Pretty soon we were sitting in my garage on pickle buckets with vegetable peelers, cooking soap.”
After explaining the process to understandably concerned police who stopped by during the first cook session, Seipler got his company up and running.
Understanding the process, hotels that partner with Clean the World pay the company 50 cents per room per month to have soaps recycled. CTW provides bins, pickup, delivery, shipping, and training to the housekeeping staff. The staff separates out the soap and puts the bars in a bin. CTW then trucks the bins to one of the company’s processing plants.
The first and largest plant is in Orlando; others are in Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Montreal and India. The bins arrive in the giant, fragrant warehouses.
Also, there the hotel soaps meet reject soaps from cosmetics bigwigs like Unilever. Workers then melt down the soap, reform it, and pack the new bars into boxes that they send to NGOs and charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The company also works with hotels to recycle those partially used shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles.
At the warehouse, the bottles are examined — usually by one of 20,000 CTW volunteers — to see if they’re over three-quarters full. If so, the bottles are cleaned and included in hygiene kits along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and other items, then sent to homeless shelters around the world. Empty bottles get recycled.
Repeated enough times, over enough of your hotel stays, the numbers get pretty staggering.
In fact, last year Clean the World sent out 400,000 hygiene kits and made more than 7 million bars of soap, including half a million bars for Haiti and the Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew.
The company’s move to recycle soap seven years ago has tracked with a worldwide decline in the number of child deaths. Still, something like 16,000 children under the age of 5 die every day, a quarter of whom are succumbing to pneumonia and diarrhea.
“That’s still about one every 15 seconds,” Seipler point out. “So we still have a lot of work to do.”
As of the moment, about 5,000 hotels participate in the program in the United States, including all of Disney’s properties, most of the Vegas strip, and dozens in New York and Chicago.
Speaking for international perspective, most of the Macau strip is on-board, as well as hotels in Hong Kong, London, and pretty much anywhere else most of the world wants to go.
The company gives hotels placards and information cards to put in rooms, so guests know who’s making good with their unused soap.
Because of the amazing advocay of the company many companies are currently pitching in, as well.
One of the big companies who pledged to participate the program is United Airlines, which agreed to donate the unused items out of its first-class passenger kits for use in hygiene kits, including sleep masks and ear plugs for people staying in bright, noisy shelters.
Meanwhile, Seipler says he is aiming to enlist cruise lines, then possibly hospitals down the line.
“There’s a whole world of hotels out there we can get to start donating,” he said. “Right now we’ve got 20% of all hotels in the US. That’s a lot of room to grow, and a lot of soap to make.”