Hotel Chain Backs Soap Recycling for World's Poor

Hilton Worldwide has entered a partnership with the not for profit Global Soap Project, which recovers and recycles soap from hotels that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project founder, inspects a box of repurposed soap.  Credit: Global Soap Project.
15 November 2011

International hotel company, Hilton Worldwide has entered a partnership with the not for profit Global Soap Project, which recovers and recycles soap from hotels that would otherwise end up in landfills.

The Global Soap Project sorts, sanitises, reprocesses and remolds used soap into new bars and distributes them to vulnerable populations in developing countries who are at risk of sanitation and hygiene-related disease.

In addition to donating soap, Hilton says that it will invest $1.3 million over the next three years and provide its operational expertise to help expand the Global Soap Project's processing capabilities.

By leveraging Hilton Worldwide's global supply chain and understanding of the hospitality industry, the partners say they will work to explore a social enterprise model and develop a global system that can recycle the high volumes of soap generated by the sector, at zero cost to hotel properties.

According to Hilton - which will also assume a seat on the Global Soap Project's Board of Directors and participate in the development of the organisation's strategy - in the first year of the partnership it expects this investment to result in the donation of more than one million new 4 ounce (110 gram) bars of soap.

Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for more than 3.5 million child deaths each year.

Hilton Worldwide says that over 2 million partially used bars of soap are discarded at hotels every day in North America alone. In contrast, a lack of soap can be a barrier to hand washing at schools, community health clinics and refugee camps in developing countries, which rarely have soap or appropriate hand washing facilities.

Since its inception in 2009, the Global Soap Project says that it has distributed more than 25 tons (22.7 tonnes) of soap to vulnerable communities in twenty countries on four continents.


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