Tourism supports communities all over the globe, but it also creates a whole lot of waste. For example, it is estimated that the tourism industry results in the disposal of roughly one million bars of soap and small plastic amenity bottles a day in the U.S., and perhaps 5 million bars/bottles a day worldwide.

As a result, hospitality housekeeping departments are working hard to clean up their act — at least in the wasted soap department — by donating used guest soaps instead of tossing them into the trash. Partially-used hotel soaps are collected by Orlando-based Clean The World (CTW), where they are melted down to make new soap and sent to impoverished countries.

Hotels that partner with Clean The World pay the company 50 cents per room, per month to have soaps recycled. CTW provides bins, pickup, delivery, shipping and training to the housekeeping staff.

They also work with hotels to recycle those partially used shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles. If the bottles are more than three-quarters full, they are cleaned and included in hygiene kits along with toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand sanitizer and other items, then sent to homeless shelters around the world. Empty bottles get recycled.

According to reports, since launching in 2009, Clean The World has donated over 50 million bars of recycled soap to people in need in 127 countries.

Roughly 8,000 hotels participate in the program in the United States, including all of Disney’s properties, most of the Las Vegas strip and dozens in New York and Chicago. CTW also collects soaps in Hong Kong, London, Montreal and India.

While Clean The World continues to operate, hotels are also doing their part to cut back on soap waste. Many have transitioned away from small toiletries and amenity bottles in favor of bulk soap dispensers in hotel rooms.

To learn more about how Clean The World came to be and how to become involved, click here.

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