When you check into a hotel room, there are a few things you can rely on: the bed will be made; there will be two or three glasses by the sink, wrapped in plastic; and in the bathroom and shower, you’ll be able to find a selection of hand soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. You’ll use most or all of these things, check out at the end of your stay, and likely forget about them. But in 2009, Shawn Seipler and Paul Till didn’t forget about them. When they found out that the unused soaps and soap bottles were simply being carted off to a landfill, the duo decided to do something about it. They founded Clean the World to gather the unused hospitality items and convert them into useful items in high demand across the world.
Since its founding, Clean the World has distributed more than ten million bars of soap to almost fifty different countries. Not only does ordinary hand soap help to treat and prevent hygiene-related diseases, more than 1.4 million pounds of waste will avoid the landfill. Its facilities can manufacture more than fifty thousand bars of soap a day. Clean the World gets its steady stream of new material from more than one hundred and fifty hotels across the globe, each of which pays roughly seventy cents per week per room to have their soap reused. From Haiti to Kentucky, the reclaimed soap is already making a difference thanks to Clean the World’s local distribution centers.
In addition to soap, the organization also helps more plastic from piling into landfills. For example, shampoo bottles can be turned into decks or roofs. Additionally, Clean the World has set its targets on the organic waste produced by hotels; and hopes to one day soon do something useful with grease and liquid sludge.