How Clean the World reduces hotel waste — and saves lives — with soap recycling
With discarded hotel soap and shampoo products, Clean the World has helped reduce deaths from hygiene-related illnesses in children by 35 percent.
One perk of staying in a hotel is the complimentary bathroom products, but have you ever thought about how much waste they create, especially on a one-night stay? Clean the World does, and it's doing something about it.
Florida-based Clean the World not only collects discarded soap and shampoo products, it also prevents millions of deaths each year caused by hygiene-related illnesses all over the world via its soap recycling program.
Since its founding in 2009, “Clean the World has distributed more than 45 million bars of soap to over 127 countries,” said Edwin Morales, its marketing and social media coordinator. “It has helped reduce the deaths of children under 5-years-old by 35 percent and also diverted 17 million pounds of waste from landfills.”
In the past year, the Clean the World soap recycling effort sent hygiene essentials to refugees in Syria and Lebanon and to victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Among Clean the World participants are 93 New York City hotels, “and they average around 45,000 pounds of soap and bottled amenities per year,” Morales shared.
Since January, the Hotel Hugo in SoHo has been one of those contributors, and “our staff is really happy to participate, said housekeeping consultant Marcin Gorski. “We were just throwing these things out, so we might as well put them to good use.”
To participate in Clean the World’s soap recycling program, hotel staff only has to separate used bars of soap and bottled amenities into bins provided by the organization, which also pays for shipping when they’re full.
“There is no extra step,” Gorski said, adding that Hotel Hugo ships bottles every two weeks and soaps once a month.
Once the products arrive at Clean the World, they are subjected to “exacting health standards.”
“Our sterilization process starts with every bar getting a surface cleaning, then dipped in a sterilization solution killing any pathogens that would get passed from skin to skin,” Morales explained. “After the soap goes through our sterilization process, the soap is then [ground] and reinserted into a soap press which manufactures brand new bars of soap.”