Did you ever wonder what happens to those partially used soap bars and half-full shampoo bottles after you check out of your hotel room? If you stay at one of the eight Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas, the soap and shampoo goes to people in Haiti and other third-world countries who are in dire need of it.
The organization making that happen is Orlando, Fla.–based Clean the World. Since its launch in 2009, the nonprofit has collected and distributed about six million bars of soap and 300,000 pounds of shampoo to people in need. Clean the World Executive Director Shawn Seipler introduced the program to the nearly 250 meeting planners who attended the Las Vegas Educational Experience, presented by Las Vegas Meetings by Harrah’s Entertainment, November 11–14.
Harrah’s eight properties in Las Vegas—Paris, Bally’s, Caesars Palace, Flamingo, Rio, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, and Planet Hollywood—were among the first hotels to participate in the program, and the Clean the World is now collecting soap daily from about 100,000 hotel rooms in North America.
At Harrah’s, for example, partially used soap is collected by the hotel housekeepers, placed in bins, and then shipped to Clean the World, which sterilizes it at recycling facilities in Orlando, Toronto, and Vancouver. In the past three months alone, Harrah’s has donated 20,000 pounds of soap. In October, Harrah’s Foundation announced a $100,000 donation to Clean the World to develop a soap-recycling facility in Las Vegas.
Seipler, speaking on November 12, said he had just returned from earthquake-ravaged Haiti where he delivered thousands of bars of soap to children and families living in tent cities. Seipler says the program is literally saving lives, as millions of people die every year because of hygiene-related illnesses. Not only that, the program has diverted about 340 tons of waste since its inception.
This year, Clean the World launched a program specifically for meeting planners, encouraging groups to implement the program as part of their. Already, 30 meeting and events have participated. Seipler notes that when meeting planners sign up to participate, soap from the entire hotel gets recycled, not just from the room block.
Soap deliveries to impoverished countries, Seipler says, could help “lead a hygiene revolution,” which “can change history in our lifetime. We’re so happy that the hospitality industry and Harrah’s are helping us.”