29 Apr, 2015
Millions of Bars of Waste Soap Recycled – Life Saving Aid Developing Nations
By Soap Blogger
It’s probably fair to say that soap is the kind of essential commodity that most people in the United Kingdom tend to take for granted. Each day, we as a nation consume million upon million bars of the stuff and seldom give a second thought to where we’d be without it. Of course, for most it’s the kind of reality that doesn’t necessarily have to be contemplated or prepared for, but for millions more in some of the world’s poorer nations, soap represents the live-saving asset that is unfortunately out of reach for most.
This is exactly the kind of unacceptable scenario one Shawn Seipler is on a mission to change.
Seipler heads an initiative that grew into an organisation called Clean the World, which started out as a unique idea seven years ago and has since evolved into a massive soap recycling empire. He and his friends could once be found using standard kitchen utensils to mash and reform used soap into new bars – they now rely more on industrial-scale recycling plants located across Las Vegas, Orlando and Hong Kong alike.
Inspiration for the life-saving soap recycling drive first struck when Seipler was staying at a hotel in Minneapolis and asked a somewhat innocent and curious question to the reception staff.
“I picked up the phone and called the front desk and asked them what happens to the bar of soap when I’m done using it,” he said.
“They said they just threw it away.”
After carrying out further research into the problem, he found that millions of soap bars are thrown away every year from the world’s hotels and buried in land-fills, despite in most cases being less than half-used. When considered alongside the fact that such huge groups of the world’s population are denied basic sanitary products and means, it was a rather startling revelation to say the least.
Thus began his mission to help save lives with soap and even half-used bottled amenities like shampoo.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Vanderbilt University Medical Center professor, Dr. William Schaffner.
“One of the most common kinds of illnesses in the world are those that are transmitted from person to person and to oneself because of germs that are on one’s hands.”
“It’s such a fundamental part of the interruption of transmission of infectious agents that could save so many lives.”
“It’s not a magic wand, but it’s a very important element.”
Since going into business, Clean the World estimates that the group has provided over 25 million bars of soap to people across almost 100 countries, while at the same time donating to charities at home – each and every bar having been destined for the landfill.
“A lot of people are surprised to find out that one of the most effective ways to prevent many deaths is actually just hand-washing with soap,” said Global Soap Director Sam Stephens.
“We’re hoping to make a difference.”
Genuinely inspiring and a reminder to all members of the UK public to think twice about soap wastage – organic or otherwise.