From old make new - Hilton recycles soap bars

Signal of change / From old make new - Hilton recycles soap bars

By Carolina Altenburger / 29 Mar 2019

Several Hilton™ brands recycle soap bars their guests left behind. The collected soaps and amenity bottles are contributed to the Clean World Challenge of Clean the World, a global health initiative dedicated to sustainability, water, sanitation and health.

To recycle the soap they are crushed, sanitised and cut into new bars. Amenity bottles are either recycled or repurposed for hygiene kits. Clean the World distributes them to communities in need, aiming to prevent diseases from spreading. Along with the recycling scheme Hilton committed to sending not one single soap to landfill anymore. Hotel owners and team members of Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton and all Suits brands in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are encouraged to collect all used soap bars, to contribute 1 Mio bars of new soap until Global Handwashing Day in October.


So what?

The soap recycling scheme is part of Hiltons commitment to reduce its ecological footprint by half until 2030. According to Clean the World the company’s effort has contributed to the distribution of more than 7.6 million recycled soap bars. About 2 million partially used soap and amenity bottles are usually discarded a year. Why not replace small amenity bottles and packaged soap for bigger multi-time use ones and unpackaged soap to reduce waste?

Shampoo and shower gel dispenser could be refilled, unused soap bars could still be recycled. Is shipping off amenity bottles made of plastic to communities in need going to reduce waste in the long run, or add to plastic dumps?

Clean the World aims to tackle two issues: the amount of waste created by hotel hygiene products, and the reduction of deaths caused by disease due to a lack of hygiene products and education. But will just distributing hygiene products going to help reduce the spread of diseases? Do those communities receive education on relevant hygiene practice? It is questionable if the sole distribution is enough to reduce the risk of lethal diseases.

And, what happens with the plastic bottles after they’ve been used by the people they are donated to? Are they ultimately going to end up in a landfill?


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What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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