“I feel like I’m peeling potatoes,” I said to the Clean the World worker while using a dinner knife to scrape the outer layer off a used bar of hotel soap. She smiled and handed me a vegetable peeler.
During a recent business trip to Orlando, Fla., I planned my itinerary to arrive a few hours earlier to spend a couple of hours volunteering at Clean the World, a nonprofit organization that recycles used hotel soap to save lives.
Doing Good with Used Hotel Soap
Think about it. How much soap and shampoo do you leave behind in a hotel? Honestly, I try to take as much hotel soap as I can but don’t always manage to take it all. [Note: It’s not stealing, it’s meant to be consumed.] What happens to used hotel soap and shampoo? It’s trashed and carted off to the landfill, unless a hotel participates in a recycling program like Clean the World.
Since its inception in February 2009, the Orlando-based organization has diverted more than 1.2 million pounds (and counting) of hotel soap and shampoo from landfills and put it to good use. The headquarters facility receives at least 10,000 bars of soap a DAY! There are also processing facilities in Las Vegas, Toronto and Vancouver. As I learned, the outer soap skin is scraped off (which is what I did) then sanitized and processed. The final product is natural, meaning, to reduce waste, it’s not placed in a wrapper.
Orlando-based hotels and resorts participating in the program have their soaps and shampoos picked up weekly by Clean the World and others out of the area have the used products shipped to the processing facility. More than 1,200 hospitality partners participate in the recycling program including The Walt Disney World Resorts, Hilton and Starwood Hotels and Resorts – among others.
Used Hotel Soap Saving Lives
Recycled soap and shampoo is then distributed domestically and around the globe through humanitarian organizations. To date, Clean the World has distributed more than 9 million bars of soap to more than 45 countries! According to CTW, hand washing with soap reduces the impact of acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease, which are the top two killers of children younger than 5-years-old. This recycled hotel soap is saving lives!
How You Can Volunteer During Your Orlando Vacation
My volunteer shift was two hours and passed quickly. I watched an introductory video about Clean the World, was given a brief tour and instructions on how to scrape soap. I worked alongside CWT staff who were extremely friendly, nice and helpful. Shifts are typically two-hours long and volunteers can be as young as 8-years-old so volunteering at Clean the World during an Orlando family vacation is perfect. Obviously, I volunteered as a solo traveler but it’s also a great opportunity for groups of up to 100 people.
During my shift I scraped about 50 bars of soap and let me tell ya, I didn’t want it to end. I found my soap-scraping groove and became obsessed with scraping away dark flecks and sand granules from the small soap bars.
If you’re interested in volunteering, contact Clean the World to see what dates are available. Call them at (407) 574-8353 or visit their website and contact Rosanna Kingston, Volunteer/Special Project/NGO Coordinator.
Clean the World is conveniently located off I-4 in downtown Orlando with limited parking on site but plenty of parking located nearby.
Clean the World
400A Pittman St.
Orlando, Fla. 32801
Tel: (407) 574-8353
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