Respect Poverty

Can your hotel soap save lives?

The United Nation reports that a staggering 3 billion people worldwide don’t have basic hand-washing facilities in their homes. Lack of soap and clean water leads to communicable diseases such as cholera and dysentery, and it’s estimated that diarrhea linked to poor sanitation kills almost 300,000 children younger than five every year. 

Which is why major hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott are partnering with Clean the World to collect used soap and recycle it into products for the impoverished. There are other nonprofits doing similar work, such as EcoSoap and Asia’s SoapCycling, as well as efforts by individuals working to improve sanitation across the globe. 

But in the past decade Clean the World has recycled an estimated 50 million bars of used soap, most of them donated from the hospitality industry. But experts say consumers should also be recycling soap at home and using every last bit to minimize the pollution created during soap production.

It’s not difficult; all you have to do is soften leftover soap in water and press it into a new bar. Or you can stick slivers of soap inside a slit sponge and wash with that. The more soap used for its intended purposes, the healthier the population and the environment.

Some video imagery courtesy of Clean the World, Hyatt Hotels Corp., Marriott Corp. and Hilton Hotels & Resorts.