Over 7 million children die each year from diseases that can be prevented with simple hand washing. And every year, a typical 400-room hotel generates 3.5 tons of solid soap waste. That waste either goes to landfill, or is shipped to a global recycling facility, costing hotels hefty fees. That’s why we started Soap For Hope™, which teaches at-risk communities to salvage the hotels' soap slivers and turn them into new soap bars.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. The community also plays a critical role in fighting COVID-19 by adopting frequent hand hygiene as part of their day-to-day practices.
Our Soap For Hope program focuses on 3 core objectives:
- Saving lives - enabling hygiene through providing access to soap to communities who need soap but lack access
- Enhancing livelihood for the local community through recycling and reprocessing soap
- Helping hotels reduce waste by turning used soap into something useful again
How Does Soap For Hope Work?
Soap is recovered from Diversey hotel customers which are Soap For Hope program partners, and then transported to a local site where residents reprocess it using an innovative but simple cold-press method. The cold-press method makes 120 gram soap bars or 500 gram soap bars, in under 10 minutes. The method does not need electrical energy or running water, resources which are scarce in slums or poor villages. The new soap is then distributed locally, or transported to communities in need, thereby eliminating waste, improving hygiene and creating new jobs.
One of the key aspects of our program is community involvement. All projects are run directly by local nonprofits and employ underprivileged community members to do the work, giving livelihood opportunities to those who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance.
Since launching Soap For Hope in October 2013, we now have more than 800 participating hotels in in 188 cities across 41 countries around the world. To date, Soap For Hope has diverted 2950 tons of solid soap waste from landfills. Together with our partners, we have produced over 24.5 million bars of soap and distributed them to over a million people annually. The local people involved in Soap For Hope make a small livelihood and their communities have access to free soap, which is crucial in preventing life-threatening illnesses through proper hand washing. It helps prevent diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and now, Covid-19.
Soap For Hope is just one example of how we bring together our business and societal commitments to create shared value with a diverse group of partners.
“We are delighted to join the Soap For Hope program with Diversey. The program creates shared value between our business and the communities in which we operate. Providing local access to better hygiene aligns closely with the brand’s Blu Planet program to encourage water mindfulness.” Inge Huijbrechts, VP for Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
"We are proud that over 70 Hilton hotels globally are recycling soap through Diversey’s Soap For Hope program. The flexibility of the program has allowed us to adapt it to individual hotels and their community partners, resulting in fantastic projects ranging from supporting young people to creating new revenue streams for partner social enterprises who recycle and sell the recovered soap bars. At Hilton, we believe that it is our mission to create a positive impact in our communities, and soap recycling is just one example of how we are strengthening communities, creating opportunities and preserving the environment.” Maxime Verstraete, VP of Corporate Responsibility & ADA Compliance for Hilton Hotels