On my travels, I always come home with a collection of shampoos, soaps etc. from all the hotels I stay in. I even leave the maid nice tips so they’ll replenish the bottles I stash away. I never use any of the things I bring home. Is this some weird compulsive behavior? Well maybe. I do this because charitable organizations I support, collect these items for people living in shelters or are homeless.
No need to take these home with you!
Clean the World (CTW), an Orlando-based company, collects used hotel soaps, shampoos..Read more!
On my recent trip back from Cancun, one of the bottles of shampoos opened. Fortunately it was in a plastic bag (plastic bags are a staple on my packing list) and only the other bottles of shampoo got wet. Easily washed off and ready to be donated. So, when I read about what many hotels do with the left-over shampoos and soaps, I’m rethinking my "collecting", thanks to Clean the World.
Clean the World (CTW), an Orlando-based company, collects used hotel soap, melts it down, and makes new soap to send to impoverished countries, through a process called rebatching. Thus saving landfill space locally and lives globally. Worldwide, thousands of children die every day from illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhea, which the World Health Organization finds are largely preventable with proper hygiene.
Hotels pay CTW 50 cents/room/month to have soaps recycled. CTW provides bins, pickup, delivery, shipping, and training to the housekeeping staff. CTW then trucks the bins to one of the company’s processing plants in Orlando, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Montreal and India. The bins arrive at giant, fragrant warehouses. The hotel soaps meet reject soaps from companies like Unilever. The soap is melted, reformed and packed into new bars and sent to NGOs and charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
CTW also works with hotels to recycle partially used shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles. At the warehouse, the bottles are examined to see if they’re over three-quarters full. If so, the bottles are cleaned and included in hygiene kits along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and other items, then sent to homeless shelters around the world. Empty bottles get recycled. About 5,000 hotels participate in the program in the United States; all of Disney's properties, most of the Vegas strip, and dozens in New York and Chicago. Internationally, most of the Macau strip, as well as hotels in Hong Kong, London, and pretty much anywhere else people travel. The company gives hotels placards and information cards to put in rooms, so guests know.
United Airlines just agreed to donate the unused items out of its first-class passenger kits for use in hygiene kits, including sleep masks and ear plugs for people staying in bright, noisy shelters.
There’s still a lot of room to grow, only 20% of US hotels participate. The next time you get a pang of guilt because you used only a bit of your soap, check to see if your hotel is part of Clean the World. If not, ask them to check into this program.
Happily, leave that soap and shampoo, knowing you might just save a life around the world.
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