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Throw Away that Hotel Soap

by Brian Dunning

June 17, 2011

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Donate Imagine you live in a disease-ridden third world country with hardly any access to healthcare. What's the best thing you can do?

Wash your hands with soap. If you have any.

Soap from most hotels is typically thrown away and replaced each day, even though the average bar has only been used once. Each day, 2.6 million bars of soap go from hotels to landfills in the United States alone. It struck a young Ugandan native living in Atlanta, GA that all this excess, wasted soap just might help save a few lives if delivered to where it was most needed. And so, in 2009,Derreck Kayongo enlisted the aid of a few hotels in downtown Atlanta to start collecting it. Funded by donations, his nonprofitGlobal Soap Project now does exactly what he envisioned: sends free soap to African nations where it's needed most.

Many hotels across the United States and Canada now save their discarded soap, and the Global Soap Project picks it up, recycles it into clean, new bars, and delivers it to Africa. There's no clear way to estimate the health benefits, but basic hygiene has long been a first line of defense in developing nations.

Skeptoid offers Mr. Kayongo a heartfelt "Well done, sir."

by Brian Dunning

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