Ever wonder what happens to the leftover soap that hotels give out to customers? Typically, the bars get chucked in the trashcan. But an organization called the Global Soap Project aims to change that, collecting the gently used bars for refugee camps in Africa. One boutique chain, Desires Hotels, announced it will donate all its soap to the project, reducing hotel waste while helping combat preventable diseases.
According to the Global Soap Project, last year 200,000 children (many under 5 years of age) in Uganda died from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory disease. Access to soap and more frequent hand washing could "reduce the risk of these diseases by up to 65 percent," a statistic that inspired native Ugandans Derreck and Sara Kayongo to develop the soap project.
The project has collected 17 tons of donated soap to date from more than 160 hotels nationwide and, according to an article in Global Atlanta, has purchased a machine that will sanitize, melt and remold the used soap into new bars. The commercial soap machine can process nearly 2,000 bars per day, and now the Global Soap Project is limited only by storage space for the donations that have poured in from around the country. Another hurdle, according to the Global Atlanta, is finding funds for shipping the soaps overseas as the project coordinates its relief work.
For now, though, the Kayongos continue seeking donations, looking to reclaim the estimated 2.6 million bars of soap discarded every day in hotels across the country.