In the US alone, an estimated 2 million used hotel soap bars are thrown out every day. Simply because most people do not stay long enough in a hotel to use the entire soap.
If you can take it home to continue using, then great.
Or if you can bring your own, even better.
As more hotels and resorts adopt refillable toiletries for hand and body wash to avoid excess packaging, plastics and waste, there are still many who offer individually wrapped soap bars that are often used once or twice by hotel guests.
Thankfully, some really innovative people such as Soap Aid, Clean the World and Eco-Soap Bank, have been turning used hotel soap bars into repurposed sanitised soap donated to people and communities in need, making a difference to health, sanitation, hygiene and environment.
In Australia, Soap Aid is a not for profit organisation and charity with over 100 ‘Hotel Champions’ registered to the ‘Hotel to Hands Program’ and 12 ‘Corporate Champions’ committed to the shared vision of supporting lives and communities in need, simply by donating their used hotel soap.
Collectively, they have diverted 100 tonnes of soap from landfill, 830,000 repurposed soap bars distributed globally and provided 260,000 children and adults with soap for hygiene and sanitation.
Repurposed soap bars also use 59 per cent less carbon emissions than making new soap with raw materials. Amazing for a product many of us take for granted and easily discarded, but is actually making a difference to people, health and the environment globally.
So next time you or your client spends a night in a hotel, encourage them to either bring their own soap, take home their used soap bar or let them know about these organisations, who repurpose used soap bars, sanitise them and distribute them to people and communities in need.
However you travel, make a conscious decision to save one less product that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Written by Dayana Brooke, Founder of The Sustainable Traveller, a travel agency providing sustainable travel trips and experiences. Dayana has 17 years booking travel and is an affiliate of Savenio and Virtuoso travel networks. She advocates for sustainable tourism and veganism for the future of our planet.