When you’re fortunate enough to spend time in a hotel, you have to admit that you probably behave just a little bit differently than you would in your “normal life.” Go ahead and fess up. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if you skipped down the hallway when no one was looking or you used your bed as a pre-dinner trampoline. Perhaps your unbridled joy revolves exclusively around drying off with six different towels following your luxurious one-hour shower, oh, just because. No better example of this reckless hotel abandon exists than with our attitude toward the freebie body products that beckon us from their neat little pedestal on the bathroom sink. Tiny, little soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Oh, look at how adorable they are, and so artfully arranged. From the moment that we lovingly gaze upon them, we decide right then and there that it should — no, must — be our personal mission to sample all of them, no matter how clean or well moisturized our bodies already are. Then, this is how the sordid and soapy event ultimately plays out. Even if we’ve only used one-quarter of the Zen-bestowing organic lemongrass and ginger cleanser the first time around (which is the equivalent of just under 1 ounce of actual fluid product), the hotel-itus we’re afflicted with literally compels us to reach for a brand new mini-bottle the next time around. If the gods have cursed us with a measly one-night stay, then we lather up with the moisturizing passion fruit and goat’s milk bar to such a recklessly wasteful extent that it takes at least another 24 hours for the bubbles to finally disappear down the drain.
Once we bid the hotel adieu, what happens to our body care cast-asides? Yup, chucked right into the garbage. Well, of course those items have to be thrown away. There is no way that personal grooming items can or should be salvaged; doing so would be entirely unsanitary. Except that Clean The World has created a patented sanitization process that renders used hotel soap bars entirely pathogen-free! Huh? Old bars of soap made new again? Tell me more. Just a few years ago, two gentlemen struck by the rampant waste in the hospitality industry decided to form a nonprofit organization that would, at the very least, make better use of the seemingly salvageable resource of soap. Of all the things to recycle, why did they choose gooey, used hotel body care products? Simply put, they recognized that they could prevent 340 tons of soap waste from cluttering landfills by redirecting that untapped resource to those who would benefit, both at home and abroad. They did their homework and found out that residents of our nation’s homeless shelters most certainly appreciate soap — it’s one of those incredibly basic personal grooming tools that is often out of reach due to financial limitations. On the other side of the world, they also learned that residents of undeveloped countries far too often die from easily preventable illnesses (such as acute diarrheal infections and respiratory ailments) that could be entirely prevented if they were able to lather up with — you guessed it — soap. So, in the span of just a few short years, Clean The World has established soap recycling partnerships with 260 major American hotels (including big names such as the Hilton, Harrah’s, Walt Disney World Resorts and the Hyatt). The nonprofit set up major soap processing/sanitizing centers in Atlanta; Chicago; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orlando; New York; Toronto; Vancouver, BC; and Washington, DC; consequently preventing 35.5 tons of mini shampoo-conditioner bottles and 5 million individual soap bars from entering our waste stream. How do you like them apples? But you’re probably wondering how the heck they can turn a used bar into a new bar. Glad you asked. Any soap that is lightly used is first soaked in a proprietary, patent-pending sanitizing fluid that obliterates all traces of typical pathogen offenders (including E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aerogenes, Salmonella typhymurium and Staphylococcus aureus) followed by a combination of pressure and steam. It is then cooled, tested by a laboratory to make sure that it is bacteria-free, repackaged and finally redistributed to those in need. There are still roughly 10% of recycled bars that are not easy to salvage since they’re more than half-used. That’s when rebatching is employed, which simply entails cooking all recycled scraps down into a very hot soup (which is sterilizing in and of itself). The liquid is then poured into 2-ounce molds, cooled and finally packaged. Pretty fantastic, huh? Spread the bubble-love by hosting a recycled soap drive in your community, and once you’ve amassed a dandy collection, please send your donations to: