Those tiny soap bars that hotels leave in your bathroom during your stay are pretty convenient. It’s almost inevitable that people forget at least one thing at home when they go on a trip. Many times it’s shampoo or body wash that are forgotten.
Even though they can’t replace the sweet smell of your favorite body wash, those complimentary soap bars definitely come in clutch.
However, horror stories have been popping up left and right regarding those hotel soap bars. Some people are claiming that the hotel maids take your used soap bars, rewrap them, and put them back in place for the next person who checks-in. That means that you’ve probably washed with someone else’s used soap bar.
While there’s no legitimacy to this unsanitary rumor, it’s led people to wonder what actually happens to those complimentary soap bars when you check-out.
It turns out that most of that unused soap and shampoo are thrown out and taken to landfills. It’s actually pretty disastrous for the environment. It’s also incredibly unfortunate, as that unused soap could improve the lives of poorer people around the world.
That’s what made Shawn Seipler, an entrepreneur from Florida, quit his job at a tech company to collect and recycle unused hotel toiletries.
He was actually staying at a hotel for work one time when his curiosity peaked and caused him to call the front desk to ask what happens to the soap after guests check-out. The hotel told him that they just throw it away.
Seipler was mortified. After some quick calculations, he discovered that millions of half-used soaps were being sent to landfills everyday all over the world. On top of that, people in developing countries were dying because of poor sanitation.
So, in 2009, Seipler started collecting and recycling half-used soap bars from Florida hotels. He would store them in a relative’s garage. That’s how Clean the World, a not-for-profit corporation, started.
Clean the World’s mission is to collect and recycle soap and other toiletries from hotels that would otherwise be thrown out in order to prevent more environmental waste. They then distribute those products to the people and places who need it most, thus preventing millions of hygiene-related deaths each year.
According to Clean the World and World Health Organization, two million partially-used soap bars are thrown away daily in the US alone. They also state that 1.8 billion people around the world don’t have access to proper sanitation.
Today, Clean the World has distributed more than 40 million bars of soap to people in 115 different countries. They work with big hotel companies such as Hilton and Disney. The organization also has multiple recycling centers around the world.
One man’s curiosity and consequential eureka moment has turned into an incredible organization that benefits the environment and saves lives all over the world.