Soap, at one end of the spectrum it’s a luxury item, at the other it saves lives. Did you know that more than 5 million lives are lost each year – the majority of whom are children – to diseases such as acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease caused by improper hygiene and lack of soap? Just regular hand-washing with soap can decrease childhood death by as much as 44%
Clean the World, with help of grants from the Caesars Foundation and Caesars Entertainment Corporation, recently opened a Recycling Operation Center in Las Vegas. The facility accepts gently used soap, which is then hygienically treated and repackaged at the facility. Caesars Entertainment and its housekeeping staff have collected more than 40 tons of soap since implementing the program at its resort casinos nationwide. The Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center acts cas a collecting point for gently used hotel amenities from all over the western region of the United States and serves as a distribution point both domestically and abroad for recycled soaps and bottled amenities.
The Global Soap Project recovers discarded soap from hotels, reprocesses it into new bars & distributes it to vulnerable populations throughout the world. The organization was started Derreck Kayongo, a Ugandan native who spent much of his childhood as a refugee in Kenya. In 2011, Derreck was nominated for the CNN Heroes Award. Last December, Hilton Hotels partnered with the Global Soap Project.
Many smaller, local soap drives have also been held (and are being held around the country and the world).
This year’s International Service Project for the Vermilion Girl Guides (aged 5-13) of Vermillion, Alberta, Canada (including Sparks, Brownies, Guides and Pathfinders) aged 5-13 was a “Soap Drive”. They collected over 150 pounds of new and gently used bars of soap which were sent to Clean the World with the help of the local Lions Club to offset shipping costs.
The AAA of Washington State recently completed a their 4th Annual Soap for Hope donation drive, during which they collected a whopping 105,079 bars of soap and other toiletry items which were distributed to local homeless shelters and food banks.
How to Help
The next time you stay in a hotel, check to see what they are doing with the left-over amenities. Landfill or recycling? If they’re not recycling, maybe you can help to change their mind.
If you have left-over soap shavings or unusable soaps from your soapmaking that you aren’t going to use, consider donating it.
If your soap suitable for use, you could give it to a local shelter or food bank. If it needs a little work, send it off to a larger organization that can reprocess it and get it into the hands of the people who are in desperate need of soap. See the Clean the World Soap Drive page for details.