Do you use the hotel soap or do you bring your own? Have you ever wondered what happens to the soap you don’t use? Do you take it home with you? Is it thrown away or put to good use?
Well, as it turns out, both.
In the US, around two million bars of hotel soap are thrown out each year, which is a shame, considering that most of the time, that soap is only used once.
With the global travel industry making a concerted push towards sustainable tourism and reducing the environmental impact of travel, minimising waste is high on the ‘to-do’ list of hotels and providers.
Hotels, resorts and accommodation providers are increasingly adopting refillable hand and body wash, and shampoos and conditioners, in the effort to reduce plastic waste. Some are using paper-wrapped soap bars and other environmentally responsible toiletries and accessories.
But most hotels and accommodation providers still use individually wrapped soaps and toiletries, and small-sized plastic bottles of lotions and cleaners.
However, innovative services, such as Soap Aid, Clean the World and Eco-Soap Bank, have identified a niche that helps reduce waste and dramatically improve sanitation and hygiene conditions for communities in need.
These services reclaim hotel soaps to create sanitised soaps that are sent to needy people and communities.
Soap Aid, an Australian non-profit organisation and charity, works with over 100 ‘Hotel Champions’ registered to the ‘Hotel to Hands Program’ and 12 ‘Corporate Champions’ who donate their used soap for the program.
According to Travel Weekly, the program has collectively prevented 100 tonnes of soap from ending up in landfill, supplied 830,000 repurposed soap bars globally and provided 260,000 children and adults with soap to help improve hygiene and sanitation.
Another environmental bonus is that the process for repurposed soap bars emits 59 per cent less carbon than making new soap with raw materials.
So, the next time you stay out for a single night, consider bringing your own soap or at least taking the soap you use home with you. Or you could step up to the front desk and ask them to consider joining the Hotel to Hands Program. It’s worth remembering that every single-use, plastic wrapped or bottled item you use ends up in landfill somewhere.
Do you think about this when you stay at a hotel? Do you take your own toiletries or use the hotel supplied goodies?
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