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Hilton is ramping up its soap-collecting efforts around the world, with a goal of recycling 1 million bars for Clean the World to distribute on Global Handwashing Day (October 15).
Travelers — did you ever wonder what happens to those barely used hotel soap
bars? The good news is that they don’t need to be thrown away. An NGO called
has been partnering with hotel chains around the world — including
— and airlines including
to collect them, turn them into brand-new bars of soap and distribute them to
people in need. Hilton was its first partner, and over the last 10 years they
have worked to collect more than 7 million bars of soap and turned them into
new ones, which are helping reduce hygiene-related illnesses for people in need
around the world.
Hilton is now stepping it up a notch and challenging its Hilton Garden Inn,
Hampton by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2
Suites teams to recycle 1 million bars of soap this year — the goal is for
Clean the World to distribute the new bars on Global Handwashing
(October 15). Hilton formally launches the challenge today, for Global
Recycling Day, and will announce the initiative on Wednesday
at the Hunter Hotel Conference.
We caught up with Bill Duncan, Global Head of Hilton’s All Suites and
Focused Service brands; and Shawn Seipler, founder, Chairman and CEO of the
Clean the World Foundation, to learn more about this initiative and its
Shawn Seipler: As a frequent business traveler, I started to wonder what
happened to partially used soap and toiletries in hotels. Learning most of it
was discarded was an “a-ha” moment.
From this realization, Clean the World was born with a mission to both save
lives and protect the environment by providing recycled soap and other hygienic
products to families in need. Over the last decade, we have led a global hygiene
revolution, which has resulted in a 60 percent reduction in the rate of children
under the age of five dying due to hygiene-related illnesses. This effort has
also diverted millions of tons of waste from landfills.
The soap is made from discarded bars collected from hotels around the
which are then crushed, sanitized and cut into new soap. It is an
environmentally and hygienically safe recycling process and ensures that all
bars of soap recycled and distributed around the world are safe and will not
harm the end user due to disease or pathogens that can be transmitted in the
absence of proper re-purposing. The soap goes through a strict process where its
surface is cleaned; and then the soap is sterilized, ground and pressed into
After the soap has gone through this rigorous sterilization process, Clean the
World’s foundation either distributes the soap bars to individuals in need or
adds them to hygiene
kits along with
shampoo, a toothbrush and a towel as part of its WASH (water, sanitization and
hygiene) education and emergency relief efforts.
SS: Since 2009, we have distributed more than 48 million bars of soap to
over 127 countries. We currently work with 8,000 hospitality partners to recycle
soap and bottled amenities discarded by hotel guests. The partnership with
Hilton is particularly special because Hampton Inn Orlando-International
Airport was the first hotel to collect soap for Clean the World. When the All
Suites brands adopted soap recycling as a brand
in 2016, Hilton became the first hotel company in the industry to make a
commitment of this kind to our global hygiene revolution. They’ve now doubled
down, making soap recycling a brand
for Hampton by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn.
Bill Duncan: As Shawn mentioned, our brands certainly have an impactful
partnership with Clean the World, and we have become leaders in the global
hygiene revolution by educating and engaging our hotel teams and guests to
eradicate preventable hygiene-related illnesses.
We’re proud of the impact Hilton has had to date through our soap recycling partnership with Clean the World, which includes diverting more
than 2 million pounds of waste from landfills into recycled materials and
contributing to the distribution of more than 7.6 million bars of recycled soap. We know
there is more work to be done to eradicate hygiene-related illnesses and reduce
Sadly, hygiene-related diseases (diarrheal and pneumonia) account for 1 in 4
child deaths worldwide and 2.3 billion people around the world still lack basic
This is why we are launching our Clean the World Challenge. We’re asking
hotel owners and team members at Hampton by
Hilton, Hilton Garden
Inn, Embassy Suites by
Hilton, Homewood Suites by
Hilton and Home2 Suites by
Hilton across the US, Canada,
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to collect bars of soap left behind by guests, to be recycled into 1 million bars of new soap by Global Handwashing Day on October 15.
SS: Clean the World has soap-recycling centers in Orlando, Las Vegas,
Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Punta
Cana [Dominican Republic]; and distributes
recycled soap around the world in areas where there is a high risk of
hygiene-related illness. This is done through NGO partnerships with
organizations such as World Vision, Partners in Health, Harvest Time
International, Children International, Samaritan’s Purse and Helping
Hands for Relief and Development. In order to ensure that lasting health
benefits and behavioral change in hygiene habits are truly achieved, we
distribute primarily to partners who provide on-going, evidence-based
educational programs focused on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene). These
partners must have the ability to track and share the outcomes of the provision
of Clean the World soap in combination with the WASH educational programs they
conduct. We also distribute hygiene kits domestically through emergency response
and community engagement programming.
BD: At Hilton, we are always looking for ways to have a positive impact in
the communities where we serve millions of guests each year. The partnership
with Clean the World was a natural fit for Hilton. Clean the World’s mission
aligns with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose initiative,
our corporate responsibility strategy. By 2030, we promise to cut our
environmental footprint in
to help protect the planet and double our social investment to drive positive
change in communities. Hilton was the first hospitality brand to collect soap
for the Clean the World Foundation. As part of our broader goals, Hilton has
committed to send zero soap to landfills by 2030.
Serby Castro, a housekeeper at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista
South in Orlando, took a personal interest in the Clean the World program,
encouraging recycling at her hotel and even getting involved in an educational
effort to increase engagement across the Hilton enterprise. Clean the World
recently recognized Serby by renaming its soap recycling center in Punta
Cana in her honor. This is just one of the many
examples of our team members bringing Travel with Purpose and our 2030 goals to
life at our properties around the world.
Published Mar 18, 2019 5am EDT / 2am PDT / 9am GMT / 10am CET