Recycling Hotel Soap

A friend of mine told me about these guys in Florida who were working on a way to fill a need - using something that we routinely throw away in the United States.

I was curious to know more and looked into their organization "Clean the World."

Little Soaps Satisfy Big Demand in Haiti
I thought it would make for a good story for us because I've always wondered what happened to those little bars of hotel soap (they're thrown in the garbage) and secondly, I've always felt a little bit guilty about the whole thing.

More importantly, the story connects us to Haiti and is a good way to look into the much bigger issue of water and sanitation (and the lack thereof) in a country like Haiti.

The program seems to benefit a lot of folks from the hotel maids who collect the soap and feel like they're making a difference, to men from a local shelter who get jobs disinfecting the soap, to people in Haiti who cannot afford it.

Most of the soap is shipped by boat because it is a much cheaper mode of transport but we landed and met up with thousands of bars of soap that had been flown in. After we cleared customs, I got my first sense of just how valuable this commodity is in a place like Haiti...when the guys helping to load the soap into the trucks were "tipped" - not in cash - but with soap.

Check out the piece and see just how desperate folks are for something as simple as a tiny bar of soap, and how washing hands can save lives.