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Soap Recycling Programs

Updated on December 31, 2012

Everybody knows that paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum can be recycled. But did you know that soap and other hygiene products can also be recycled? The two primary methods for soap recycling are re-batching and sanitation.

Re-batching: partially used bars are cooked at a high temperature until all the bacteria and impurities are gone. The cooked soap is then re-molded into new bars.

Sanitation: moderately used soap is either treated with a chemical or filtered through a screen to remove particulates and impurities. The soap is then re-purposed into new soap.

There is now way for an individual to donate soap from their home just yet, but high-volume recycling within the hospitality industry is quickly becoming the norm. Hotels across the country are partnering with nonprofits that recycle and distribute soap to people in need. Hotel soap recycling eliminates a large amount waste and helps saves the lives of millions of impoverished people who often die simply because they could not afford, or did not have access to, the basic hygiene products that we all take for granted. As of 2012, the two most well-known recycling programs are Clean The World and the Global Soap Project.

Clean The World Foundation

Clean The World Foundation (CTW) is the largest high-volume soap recycler in the world. It is a Florida-based nonprofit organization that collects and recycles soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion from participating hospitality partners. The recycled products are then distributed to impoverished people both domestically and abroad. The foundation’s mission is to save lives by targeting areas with high death rates due to preventable illnesses such as infection. Thus far, it has distributed over 11 million bars of soap and 325,000 pounds of shampoo and conditioner.

This is how the program works:

A hotel joins the program and becomes a hospitality partner. Next, the foundation will assist hotel management with training the housekeeping employees about the CTW recycling process. Each partner will receive a number of collection bins which will be picked-up by a CTW staff member on a weekly basis. The hygiene products collected will be re-batched or sanitized, then distributed to domestic homeless shelters and countries whose citizens are in need of basic hygiene supplies. Distributions are made in conjunction with local nonprofits who must apply to receive donations from the foundation. CTW accepts hospitality partners from anywhere in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and 10 Canadian provinces. However, it only has recycling centers in Orlando, Las Vegas, and Toronto.

Global Soap Project

The Global Soap Project (GSP) is a Georgia-based nonprofit organization that collects and recycles soap from over 1,000 hotels in North America. The recycled soap is distributed globally to disaster victims, refugees, and children and mothers living in extreme poverty. Distributions are made in conjunction with well-known non-governmental organizations such as AmeriCares Foundation, Partners in Health, MedShare, and World Water Relief, to name a few. Thus far, GSP has provided soap and hygiene education to thousands of people in over 28 countries.

This is how the program works.

A hotel joins the program and becomes a hospitality partner. Next, the hotel will be contacted and given instructions on collecting and mailing the soap to the recycling plant. The collected soap is moistened and filtered through a screen to remove all impurities. Once sanitized and inspected, the soap is re-molded into new 4 oz..bars. The new bars are picked up by GSP’s NGO partners for shipment to impoverished people around the world. There are no fees to participate and all shipping costs are tax deductible.


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    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      teaches12345--Thanks for stopping by :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Interesting project, Blawger. I remember recycling soap when my son was younger, it does make sense to do this. Voted up.