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This Non-Profit Recycles the Soap from Hotels You Leave Behind When You Check out

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Every time you check out of a hotel, you leave behind a mostly-unused bar of soap. It may even be untouched, if you’re the type of person who has strong soap preferences. So what happens to it?

The answer is pretty disappointing: hotels generally just throw the soap away for sanitary reasons. And all that soap adds up; about one million bars of soap are thrown out every day in the U.S., between travelers and hotels.

One traveler was unhappy to discover this wasteful practice, so he decided to do something about it. Shawn Seipler, a former tech employee who used to travel five months out of the year, thought that he could make better use of all those slivers of soap, so he started Clean The World. The Orlando-based company collects unwanted hotel soap, sanitizes it, melts it down, and redistributes it around the world.

Just last year, Clean The World made over 7 million bars of recycled soap, which were then donated to people in need. Thousands of children die from diseases that are preventable with basic hygiene — or, as Clean The World puts it, “Soap saves lives.” The organization also recycles shampoo, conditioner and body wash for homeless shelters around the world.

Clean The World partners with hotels for the modest price of 50 cents per room per month. There are operating centers in Orlando, Las Vegas, Montreal, India and Hong Kong.

“There’s a whole world of hotels out there we can get to start donating,” Shawn told Thrillist. “Right now we’ve got 20 percent of all hotels in the US. That’s a lot of room to grow, and a lot of soap to make.”