Clean the World: the association that recycles soap

Clean the World: the association that recycles soap

Soap and water are a fundamental right which, to date, is not yet guaranteed to everyone. Clean the World has come up with a simple idea with enormous potential: recycling leftover soap in hotels.

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Soap and water, a universal right

From spring 2020 onwards we got used to red, orange and yellow areas, approved masks , thermoscanner at the entrance to the shops. Yet, every time the coronavirus infection prevention measures are listed , we always hear the same thing repeated: the number one rule is frequent hand washing . It may seem trivial to us, but what about all the places in the world where soap and water are not always available ?

One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals , number 6 , is precisely about clean water and sanitation. Because even today, 2.3 billion people do not have the opportunity to wash their hands with soap and water (i.e. 29% of the inhabitants of the planet), about 2 billion do not have access to drinking water (26%) and 3 , 6 billion do not have adequate sanitation facilities available (46%). 

The spread of Covid-19 is only one of the consequences. For us who were lucky enough to be born in an industrialized country, it may be difficult even to imagine, but even today pneumonia and acute diarrhea are two of the main causes of death of children under the age of five. And frequent hand washing would be enough to reduce cases, respectively, by one third and one half. 

Clean the World intuition

Then there is us who at the supermarket are spoiled for choice and could fill the cart indefinitely. Or that many times, even against our will, we end up wasting soap and water . For example, what about all those single-dose soaps that we find in the hotel ? When we leave the room, for obvious reasons the leftovers cannot be offered to the next guest. As a result, about two million end up in the trash every year in the United States alone .

Why not recycle them and give them to those who really need them? From this intuition was born a social enterprise, called Clean the World , which collects hygiene products from a network of over 8,000 hotels and resorts . Soap scraps are turned into new bars of soap , while the shampoo and shower gel bottles are recycled or converted into energy . A few numbers? Since 2009, 63 million bars of soap have been distributed in 127 countries characterized by scarcity of water and sanitation.

Clean the World activities, from Uganda to Las Vegas

In addition to the social enterprise, there is a foundation of the same name that carries out various programs , all united by the mission of ensuring adequate personal hygiene for all.

When Hurricane Dennis struck the Bahamas in 2019 , destroying homes where 1,500 people lived, the Clean the World Foundation was there to distribute sanitation facilities . In large US cities , such as Las Vegas , give homeless people simple kits that contain recycled soap, shampoo and conditioner, as well as free chemical toilets and mobile stations to wash their hands.  

In 2018, the foundation launched a program in the Tororo district of Uganda , where over 20,000 people are forced to walk for miles to get water and do not have a bathroom at home. Thanks to field training, the local community built a well that runs on solar energy , and then installed a tank and a network of pipes that brings clean water to a number of strategic locations. Now the six schools , the clinic and the civic center are all equipped with toilets, sinks and soap. The results speak for themselves. Cases of diarrhea decreased by 67%, school attendance increased by 50% and the average income also increased.

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