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Where hotel soap goes to die

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the blocks of soap left behind after one use in all the hotel rooms around the world?

Recycling soap

A small slice of the millions of soaps thrown out each day

I’ve always assumed that they either get given to the housekeeper to use at home (eww!), or end up in the rubbish, piling up landfills around the globe. The latter is the truth. Until now.

A bunch of geniuses in Florida have come up with a way to wash the soap (I know, an oxymoron surely), and all those half used shampoos, shower gels and conditioners are then sent to people who would give up a meal to wash with soap and avoid diseases we’ve never heard of.

Each day 9,000 children around the world die from diseases such as acute respiratory illness and diarrhea diseases that can be prevented by washing with bar soap.

Recycled soap in Ethiopia

Washing hands in Ethiopia

Clean the World is the organisation that takes all the leftovers from hotels and recycles them. I’m impressed.

Clean the World

Collecting soap to ship off to Clean the World

The Martin Resorts on the central California coast include Avila Lighthouse Suites, Pismo Lighthouse Suites, Shelter Cove Lodge, Shore Cliff Lodge and Paso Robles Inn, who have all been collecting soaps and shipped over 2,500 kgs of materials which produced 22,614 new bars of soap to be distributed to children and families in need all over the world – not to mention saving the landfills. 

In just three years of operation Clean the World Foundation has distributed more than 11 million bars of soap to children and families in the United States, Haiti and more than 55 countries worldwide.

“Knowing we should find a way to recycle our used soap products is a common discussion in the hotel industry.  But having a partner to work with to convert our goods to soap and deliver them worldwide gives us the missing piece,” said Margaret Johnson, COO of Martin Resorts.

To find out which hotels are joining in, have a look here – and maybe consider voting with your feet when choosing a place to stay!

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!