Hampton Inn Chester
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Earth Day 2018: Clean the World by Recycling Used Soap and Plastic Bottles

You may not know this; but the hotel at which you have recently stayed may be a partner of an organization called Clean the World, which has already surpassed distributing 44 million bars of soap to greater than 127 countries around the world — and you can help.

Earth Day 2018: Clean the World by Recycling Used Soap and Plastic Bottles

Thousands of bars of used soap — as well as small plastic bottles of toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, mouthwash and skin cream — can be discarded from one single hotel property daily. Clean the World gives those discarded soap bars and plastic bottles a second life — and managers can enroll the hotel property at which they are employed in this hotel recycling program to help save the environment.

In addition, multinational lodging companies have been partners in this program for years. One example is Hyatt Corporation, as evidenced by this video:

…So Where Does the Used Soap Go?

Through the Clean the World Foundation, that used soap — which would otherwise be discarded — is integrated with a comprehensive water, sanitation and hygiene program that has already positively affected greater than ten million people, thanks to the joining of forces with Global Soap back in 2015.

This program has also saved the lives of a relatively small fraction of the greater than 2.3 billion people who do not have access to basic sanitation and therefore are unable to engage in proper hygiene, as diarrheal diseases kill approximately 1.8 million people per year. Globally, approximately 2.5 billion cases of diarrhea occur among children younger than five years of age every year — that roughly translates to the deaths of 6,000 children per day — and an estimated 80 percent of those cases are within Africa and South Asia.

The Importance of Washing Hands

The World Health Organization, World Bank, and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention — and The Gate through articles such as this one, for that matter — are some of the organizations worldwide which promote hand washing with soap as the most efficient and cost-effective intervention to reduce the number of fatalities resulting from improper hygiene. The simple act of the proper washing of hands can reduce the number of deaths of children by greater than 50 percent.

Improved hygiene using soap also addresses mitigating the occurrences of pneumonia, malaria, and tuberculosis…

…as well as a wide range of lesser known — but nevertheless debilitating — tropical diseases, which are often neglected by overwhelmed medical systems in developing countries.

What You Can Do

In 2017 alone, volunteers have donated 48,852 hours of service in order to achieve the goal of giving the gift of good health to children and families around the world — and as few as two hours of your time are all you need to donate to this cause.

If you prefer, you can also donate funds to the Clean the World Foundation — and you can benefit yourself by using a credit card which either earns you cash back or miles or points.

Speaking of miles or points, some companies provide a way to donate your frequent travel loyalty program miles or points. For example, Marriott International, Incorporated offers seven ways to donate either money or Marriott Rewards points towards this cause; and — as I reported one year ago today — Hilton is also a partner with Clean the World as only part of its global initiative to help save the environment.


Back on Monday, August 28, 2006, I admitted to taking hotel toiletries “because their size is convenient for travel in case I visit somewhere that may not have the toiletries I want or need” — but the toiletries are there for the guests to take. If the toiletries are only partially used, I still take them with me and finish using them at a later time — unless the quantity is too little to be of any further use; but that could still be recycled through an organization such as Clean the World.

Also — as part of the Stupid Tip of the Day series — I give some advice pertaining to traveling with those toiletries. That includes reusing some of the conveniently small bottles found in hotel rooms after the products they contain have been used.

Some hotel guests will purposely take toiletries to donate them in order to help those who are less fortunate — and not necessarily to Clean the World.

I do not believe in being wasteful — even with water. The people of Cape Town have realized recently just what a precious commodity is simple drinking water; and I do everything I can to conserve it myself, as water is a critically important component to proper hygiene — and, of course, preventing thirst and drought.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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