Tess Eyrich 2017-09-05 10:12:29
Clean the World brings hope to communities in need with one basic concept: recycling and redistributing discarded hotel soaps. One of the simplest pleasures of a luxury hotel stay is the selection of complimentary bath products: top-of-the- line soaps, shampoos, conditioners and lotions, each encased in custom packaging and able to be replaced at a moment’s notice. But what happens to the miniature amenities when guests check out? After finding out the products are typically discarded, former sales and marketing executive Shawn Seipler hatched a multipronged plan to recycle and redistribute them to impoverished communities around the globe. In 2009, Seipler founded Clean the World, an organization based in Orlando, Florida, that now works with more than 5,000 hospitality-industry partners worldwide—including Montage Hotels & Resorts through its charitable Hearts of Montage program—to collect both used and unopened hygiene products. After they’re collected, the products are sterilized and repackaged at one of Clean the World’s five recycling centers. They’re then distributed abroad by a variety of nongovernmental organizations, domestically to schools and shelters, and in bulk shipments to victims of natural disasters. So far, Clean the World has connected children and families in more than 115 countries with over 40 million bars of soap, all in an effort to combat the spread of highly preventable diseases like pneumonia and cholera. “Taking it a step further, our Soap in Schools program allows us to travel around the world to teach kids the importance of hygiene,” says Rob Keefe, Clean the World’s product manager. “It’s important not only from a health standpoint, but also because when you’re sick, you’re not in school developing the potential to change your community—a bar of soap can fix that.” The organization has a secondary aim of reducing waste produced by the hospitality industry, traditionally one of the world’s biggest environmental offenders. “Travelers are starting to choose the places they stay and frequent based on how those places treat the environment,” Keefe says, adding that since its inception, Clean the World has successfully diverted more than 14.8 million pounds of waste from landfills. “We’re now finding that hotels genuinely want to be part of our program because it’ll benefit them in more ways than one.”
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