Projects to Send Soap to Developing Countries
In the U.S., over two million bars of hotel soap are thrown away every year. It is not universally known that hygiene products that are so often found in landfills can be repurposed.

The Clean the World nonprofit association partnered with the Global Soap Project (GSP) has since delivered more than 25 million bars of soap to developing countries. “We don’t just drop off soap and leave,” according to the partnership. “We’re creating a positive health impact that is sustained long-term by making hand-washing and local soap purchases a lifelong habit.”

The popular phrase “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” plays into this project. There’s more to it than simply giving people soap. The two organizations are advocating for global hygiene education because good hygiene education (and, by extension, good hygiene) creates healthier communities.

Hotels can register at and are given instructions on how to send in their donations. The soap is grouped up and treated in a laboratory. Subsequently, bars are cut and sent to countries in need. Afterward, NGO partners send back results to GSP on distribution and hygiene education.

“To date, we’ve worked with partners in 32 countries to distribute lifesaving soap and hygiene education to vulnerable populations, including disaster victims, refugees, the homeless and mothers and children living in extreme poverty,” says GSP on its website. After these populations receive it, GSP and Clean the World makes sure that they have access to it for the rest of their lives. This creates an immediate health impact that not only supports local economies but also fosters independence on nonprofits and self-sustainability.

Anna Brailow

Sources: Clean the World, Global Soap 1, Global Soap 2, Global Soap 3, Global Soap 4
Photo: CNN

On average, 1.8 million people per year die from diarrhea-related diseases. Diarrhea ranks third as the leading cause of death among infection-related diseases just after respiratory infections and HIV/AIDS. Fifteen countries make up 70% of this number: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Uganda and Kenya. Approximately 2.5 million children around the world become sick because of diarrhea-related infections, with many of these children being younger than 5-years-old.

Many of these victims reside in Sub-Saharan Africa, where diarrhea-related deaths rank higher than deaths due to malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined. Along with death, diarrheal diseases contribute to stunted growth, malnutrition, increased healthcare costs and the inability to work or attend school.

Clean the World was created to help decrease the number of deaths caused by diarrheal diseases by collecting toiletries and other supplies for communities whose residents fall victim to poor hygiene. Clean the World was founded by Shawn Seipler, who seeks to revolutionize hygiene all over the world. The organization collects unused hotel soaps, discarded plastic bottles and other toiletries for communities living in poverty globally.

The collection process operates in three steps: hotels and other hospitality units register their hotel, Clean the World sends them collection bins so the hotels can begin collecting unused soap and plastic bottles and lastly, the hotels ship their collections when the bins are halfway full.

Staff and volunteers sort through discarded toiletries received through donations to decide which are viable to send to communities. They also request donations from manufacturers who send the donation to their facilities in Orlando, Las Vegas or Hong Kong. At these facilities, the outer layers of bars of soap are scraped off and what is remaining is grounded down to small bits and power-washed. The bits are then mixed with glycerin and other substances to form a new bar of soap.

The donations are then distributed to regions all over the world including Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and at-risk communities in North America.

In an article by The Huffington Post, “Buy One, Give One” companies are on the rise, including Clean the World. Like Clean the World, these organizations work with other organizations and corporations to provide donations to a cause. Clean the World has recently merged with the Global Soap Project to increase the number of communities to which they distribute donations.

Julia Hettiger

Sources: Huffington Post, Recycle Nation,  Clean the World
Photo: Vegas Magazine