ORLANDO, FLA.—Clean the World, the nonprofit based here that launched eight years ago, is continuing to grow with widespread support from the global hospitality industry and its suppliers. Clean the World’s mission is two-fold. First, it is to collect and recycle soap and hygiene products discarded every day by the hospitality industry. Second, through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people, the mission is to prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.
According to Shawn Seipler, Founder and CEO of Clean the World, there are now 4,500 hotels representing 820,000 rooms globally that donate partially used soap and amenities to Clean the World. He estimates that 16 percent of all U.S. hotel rooms are participating.
“We are experiencing a lot of momentum,” Seipler says. Clean the World now has 70 employees and recycling operations centers and/or offices in Orlando, Las Vegas, India, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Canada. “We are very focused on getting Mainland China opened up,” he says, adding that there should be offices there and in the Middle East by the end of 2018. Clean the World is in discussions with investors about additional expansion of the organization.
More Room to Grow in Orlando
Clean the World recently moved its headquarters from downtown Orlando to closer to the Orlando airport and hotels in the International Drive area. “We were in two separate locations in downtown Orlando,” Seipler says. “We were able to bring those two together. We are closer to the airport and the Orange County Convention Center. It is a much larger facility and allows us to bring in more volunteers and manufacture more.” Seipler says a soap recycling line to be donated by Guest Supply will dramatically increase Clean the World’s production capacity.
Late last year, Choice Hotels International announced a partnership with Clean the World. Choice Hotels is just one of many hotel and management companies, associations and suppliers that now partner with Clean the World. Seipler says Clean the World continues to work on adding those partnerships. Last fall, Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to Clean the World. It marked the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard. Seipler says he is in the process of finalizing similar “brand standard” types of deals with other brands. CNN’s Richard Quest reported on the Hilton commitment.
This month, Clean the World launched new Veteran Hygiene Kits. The hygiene kits are specialized for veterans and include resealable bags, two bars of new soap, bottles of repurposed shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razor and shaving cream, comb, socks, deodorant, and inspirational note cards.
Almost 40,000 Veterans Homeless Each Night
“Many of our veterans lack the basic hygiene amenities needed to keep them safe and healthy,” Seipler says. “It is our duty to support these veterans.” There is an indefinite need for veterans to receive these necessary hygiene products. According to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 39,471 veterans are homeless on any given night.
It was several years ago that Clean the World created Hygiene Kits for volunteers and meeting attendees to assemble. Clean the World is in the process of diversifying the kits—for women, children, emergency relief, etc. The Hygiene Kits program has been so successful that Clean the World is expanding its CSR program offerings for groups. More details will be released soon.
As an increasing number of lodging establishments around the planet send their partially used soap and amenities for recycling, what to do with the millions of donated plastic bottles remains a challenge. Seipler says Clean the World has partnered with an engineering and science organization to figure out a way to recycle those bottles and convert that material into usable products.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.