Transforming Hotel Waste Into a Global Hygiene Solution
Every week, hotels discard millions of bars of used soap, contributing to a significant amount of waste. However, organizations like Clean the World and Unisoap are pioneering innovative solutions to recycle these soaps and provide hygiene products to those in need, while simultaneously reducing landfill waste.
Clean the World, founded by Shawn Seipler, operates a factory that processes thousands of used soap bars per hour. Similarly, Unisoap, based in Lyon, France, has developed a unique process to turn waste soap into new, sanitary bars. Both companies donate their recycled soap products to homeless individuals and children in developing countries.
As these nonprofits continue to perfect their soap recycling processes, the hotel industry has started to reduce the use of individually wrapped hygiene products. Some countries are even considering banning them entirely. Despite these changes, Clean the World and Unisoap are making a significant impact with their recycling initiatives.
The process of recycling used soap begins with removing any dirt, hair, dead skin cells, and bacteria. When soap molecules bind to the germs and natural oils on your skin, they effectively capture filth and wash it away. This means that even a contaminated soap bar is safe to clean your hands with.
Unisoap collects thousands of used soap bars from hotels in France, removes the outer layers, and then grinds and blends the differently-sized bars into smaller, uniform pieces. The mixture is then molded into new bars, which are hand-cut and stamped with Unisoap’s logo.
Since its launch in 2017, Unisoap has processed nearly 10 metric tons of soap using this method. Meanwhile, Clean the World, which began as a small operation in a one-car garage, has upgraded to an industrial assembly line and has donated over 73 million recycled soap bars to children in need.
While the hotel industry is shifting towards practices that rely less on disposable soap bars, it is important to note that bar soaps are more environmentally friendly than liquid soaps. They require less plastic packaging and use up to six times less soap per wash. In addition, refillable soap containers often harbor more bacteria when refilled by staff.
Despite these challenges, Clean the World and Unisoap continue to grow their soap-recycling initiatives and make a positive impact on the environment and global hygiene. By raising awareness about the potential of recycling used soap, these organizations are helping to transform hotel waste into a valuable resource for those in need.