I really don’t think I will ever look at a bar of soap the same again, or a plastic amenity bottle. Much of that has to do with Clean the World and all of the incredible work it has done the last eight years repurposing those items—ultimately saving lives. I spoke with Shawn Seipler, Founder and CEO of the Orlando, Fla.-based nonprofit this past week and he gave me an update on the progress of Clean the World and all of the innovative work it is doing. (See my article.)
Many of you send your partially used soap and amenities to Clean the World. Today there are 4,500 hotels representing 820,000 rooms doing that. Sixteen percent of the rooms in the United States now participate in the donation program. Those of you still not participating should consider doing so. The reprocessed soap and other items gets in the hands of those who really need them—the homeless, victims of natural disasters, children, women, etc.
Increasingly, Clean the World is becoming much more of a total corporate social responsibility (CSR) organization. Several years back it began a Hygiene Kit program for meetings attendees and other volunteers. The idea of course is to pack together items in one bag for those in need. Earlier this month, for example, Clean the World launched new Veteran Hygiene Kits. The kits feature 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.
“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. Putting these specialized kits in the hands of our veterans is a great way to honor and thank them for their service.” Incredibly, there are more than 39,000 veterans that are homeless in the United States on any given night.
Expansion Around the Globe
Expansion of the Hygiene Kits program is just one of the areas of growth for Clean the World. 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,” Seipler 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.
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.
One of the most innovative things Clean the World is currently working on is what to do with the millions of plastic amenity bottles it receives. Seipler told me 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. While not creating these bottles in the first place is one way to address the waste problem, figuring out what to do with these bottles would be huge for our industry…and the planet.
It would be easy just to sit back and do what has been done for years—send partially used soap and amenities to the landfill to sit for years upon years. Thankfully, an organization like Clean the World exists to work on problems we all share. Support it any way you can.
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