Cleaning the world, one used soap bar at a time

Waste not want not... recycled soap

One of my favourite things about luxury hotels is the seemingly endless supply of designer toiletries – soaps, gels, lotions and shampoo – all in a conveniently compact, travel-friendly size.

Thinking sustainably... Pismo Lighthouse Suites
Thinking sustainably… Pismo Lighthouse Suites

In fact, over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection in my own bathroom at home. But it seems not everyone has the same affiliation to mini bars of soap as I do and a California-based boutique hotel group has thought up a way to recycle its used toiletries.

With oceanfront hotels along Pismo Beach and nestled in the heart of Paso Robles wine country, Martin Resorts had sustainability in mind when they recently teamed up with Clean the World Foundation to collect used soap, shampoos, conditioners and lotions to help fight the global spread of preventable diseases.

To date, over two and half kilograms of used toiletries have been collected from five Martin properties and recycled into 22,614 new bars of soap to be distributed to impoverished communities throughout the United States and across the globe.

“Knowing we should find a way to recycle our used soap products is a common discussion in the hotel industry, but having a partner to work with to convert our goods to soap and deliver them worldwide gives us the missing piece,” says Margaret Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of Martin Resorts.

Clean the World Foundation is the largest global recycler of hotel amenities and in just three years of operation has distributed more than 11 million bars of soap to children and families in more than 55 countries worldwide.

Each day 9,000 children around the world die from diseases such as acute respiratory illness and diarrheal diseases that can be prevented by washing with bar soap.

“Our hotel partners are the driving forces behind our global hygiene revolution,” says Shawn Seipler, CEO at Clean the World.

“By making a commitment to sustainable, socially responsible programs in the hospitality industry, hotel groups are using the leftover resources of soaps and bottled amenities to help save lives.”

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