If you've ever completely used up the complimentary shampoo, conditioner, or soap you're given in hotel rooms, you're probably one of few who've done so. Usually, before the soap is even all gone, the housekeeper replaces the bottle with a completely full version. Because Shawn Seipler, the founder of Clean the World, used to travel five months out of the year for work, he found himself wondering what happened to his amenities afterwards.
"I called down to the front desk and asked what they did with all the leftover soap," he told Thrillist. Their answer: They toss it. In fact, according to Thrillist, travelers and hotels combined throw away roughly 1 million bars of soap a day in the United States — and 5 million across the world. That's why Seipler set out to solve this waste problem.
Once he learned soap can be melted down, reformed, and recycled (a method called rebatching), he figured out a process for doing this for all bathroom products hospitality companies offer. Today, hotels that partner with Clean the World pay the company 50 cents per room per month to have soaps recycled.
In return, Seipler and his team provide the bins, pickup, delivery, shipping, and training for housekeeping staff. After being rebatched, the soaps are sent to NGOs and charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army. The plastic containers are also inspected and recycled.
The organization currently has plants in Orlando, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Montreal, and India. In the United States, about 5,000 hotels participate in the program, including all of Disney's properties, most of the Las Vegas Strip, and places in New York and Chicago, all of which account for 20 percent of the country's hotels.
So the next time you feel guilty for using only one dollop of shampoo and leaving the rest behind, ask the chain if they partner with Clean the World. If they do, you can lather, rinse, and repeat without a care.