When you first hear that hotel soap is being cleaned, “crushed,” and “cut into new bars,” you might get a little nervous. Does this mean that those cute little bars of soap you like to steal from the Holiday Inn are actually used soap? Gross!
Before you stop washing your hands, let’s dispel some rumors. This story has been getting twisted around and given a bad rap thanks to posts like this one on Reddit, but in reality, hotels like Hilton and Marriott are helping the environment by collecting leftover soap and recycling it.
But, they’re not recycling it in the way you might think — and, most importantly, you don’t have to worry about using anyone else’s hairy, dirty soap bars.
Clean the World
For several years now, Hilton Hotels have been working in conjunction with Clean the World, a charitable organization that works to give soap to those in need. All of the hotels in the Hilton chain, including Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, and Hampton, have all been collecting the soap left behind by their guests (the ones who don’t take the bars home for a souvenir, of course) and putting it to good use.
The leftover soap is pulverized, sanitized, and melted down to make completely new (completely clean) soap that is then given to people in impoverished and underserved communities.
Hilton is not the only hotel chain to recycle its soaps, but it has made the biggest splash in the media thanks to things like its goal of churning out one million bars of recycled soap before Global Handwashing Day in 2019.
As of 2019, Hilton had helped Clean the World donate over 7.6 million bars of soap to those in need, and that number is still growing all the time.
This is not only great for those who receive the soap, but also for the environment. This initiative alone has helped to keep over two million bars of soap and soap bottles out of landfills. Talk about cleaning up!
Other Things That Get Recycled
Consumers today know that we need to do something big if we want to save the planet and our fellow humans, so they are often looking to spend their money on businesses that give back and offer sustainable options to support the environment.
Hilton has been tuned into this need for years and has been running recycling programs for their shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles since before the bar soap recycling began. According to Bill Duncan, the global head of Hilton, the hotel chain was one of the first to join the soap and bottle recycling initiative, and they continue to be a fervent supporter of it.
So, next time you see a headline about hotels repurposing used soap, just know that there may be a squeaky-clean reason behind it!