Shawn Seipler used to stay in at least 150 hotel rooms each year; one day, he thought about what happens to all of the half-used soaps he left behind. Upon calling the front desk to seek an answer, he was told that it just gets “tossed”. In 2009, he started Clean the World out of a one-car garage in Florida.
All he had was a few friends, some potato peelers, meat grinders, and cookers to develop a way to recycle used bars of soaps into brand new sterile ones.
Since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 50 million bars of soap to people in 127 countries and has attracted the likes of Hilton among others; here’s how it works.
At the hotel itself, it starts with the staff members who are trained on the collection and recycling process. Used bars and bottles are collected by housekeeping and deposited in special bins. These bins are then brought to one of the many Clean the World’s facilities to be sorted for the recycling process.
Bar soaps are first surface cleaned and sterilized to eliminate pathogens, they are then ground up and remodeled into new bars on a manufacturing line.
These new bars are then boxed and loaded onto pallets where they will be sent out to the homeless at shelters and organizations worldwide.
Hilton has since pledged to diverte all of its soap from the trash by 2030; Clean the World on the other hand has kept 20 million pounds of hotel waste from ending up in landfills since it was founded.
Other hotel chains have also picked up on the practice by cutting down waste through elimination of single-use toiletries from their rooms, opting for bulk offerings instead, which Hilton is yet to do so.