Thursday, June 4, 2009

What to Do With Leftover Soap & Shampoo

What does your property do with its partially used soaps and shampoo bottles? Throw them away? Donate them? Donating soap is not as easy as it sounds. There are certainly sanitary issues to consider. Would you want to use soap that a stranger has used? A new nonprofit organization, Orlando, Fla.-based Clean the World, Inc., has formed to deal with the soap and amenity bottle issue. I strongly recommend that you check them out.

Clean the World is currently working in the central Florida area but it hopes to expand its program throughout the United States. The organization collects used soap, heats it to 240 degrees for an hour, grinds it down into a powder, and then molds it for reuse. The soap and shampoo is being donated to homeless shelters in Florida. Clean the World also intends to donate the items to areas of the world where acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease are a problem. Every year more than 5 million lives are lost to these diseases, with the majority of deaths being children under five years old. Studies have shown that simple hand washing can greatly reduce the spread of these diseases.

While I have run across numerous examples of individual properties donating partially used amenity bottles, Clean the World is the first organization I have heard of that is focused on collecting soap and bottles on a large scale. What they are doing is not only great for the less fortunate, but great for the environment as well. Be sure to support their efforts. Watch for additional details soon at http://www.greenlodgingnews.com/.

4 comments:

pinehurstpair said...

Rather than continue to use the various small amenity bottles (consider the energy used just to produce them!), please consider dispensers. There are many attractive options available, great bulk products available and little or no waste product left over. We provide all shampoo, conditioner and liquid soaps in dispensers mounted in the shower. Hand soap and lotion are provided in pump containers made by a local potter. Works well land we feel better about what we are doing.

Nancy Sandstrom
Pinehurst Inn
Bayfield, Wisconsin

"Motella" said...

I can remember many years ago our property used to donate unprocessed used soap tablets to a local school.

The thought of doing this now makes me shudder!

Now used soap tablets are disposed of with the rest of our rubbish and as long as they end up in a modern landfill facility this is the probably the best way to end their life.

The resource that would be required to collect, store, transport, disinfect and process recycled soap would appear to be unrealistic and another example of a feelgood greenwash programme to enable accommodation providers to merely tick off another box on a "green" checklist.

I realise that there are many bulk dispensers exclusively used by some accommodation providers, however we choose to give our guests the choice and find that by far the majority prefer to wash (particularly bathe) with a tablet of soap.

There will always be a philosophical debate between those that wish to provide the guest what they WANT and those that wish to only provide what they believe the guest SHOULD have.

Individual hotel/motel guest amenities are regarded as the devil's own spawn by environmentalists, however good quality items are still regarded by the majority of our guests as practical, sexy and appealing novelty items that make staying in commercial accommodation a unique experience.

Jennifer Dufy said...

Great idea. How do we sign up?
Jennifer Duffy, Innkeeper/Owner
The Vermont Inn
Killington VT

Beth said...

We have our soaps made locally in a very attractive starfish shape with our signature scent of citrus basil and if our guests don't take them home, I put them to use in the back of a closet on a high shelf to give the closet a nice clean fragrance or I put them in staff only areas for reuse. Dispensers are too "locker room" and we have a whole line of products for sale to our guests such as sea salts and soy candles. Sally
Woods Hole Inn
Woods Hole, MA