We’ve all done it, more times than we care to admit. We stay in a hotel while traveling, barely use the brand new bars of soap placed in our rooms, and then mindlessly toss them in the trash upon our departure.
It’s not that we’re irresponsible hotel guests, it’s just that perhaps the thought never occurred to us that there might be a better way. However, the folks behind Sealed Air’s Soap For Hope™ program created a better way to reduce hotel waste, and they’re taking it a step further, by converting that waste into free hygiene to better the lives of citizensand communities in need around the world
Soap for Hope is simply perfect and perfectly simple. It is based on a simple process that requires no running water or electricity. Once the used soap bars are collected from hotels, Sealed Air teaches the local community members to recycle soap with specialized equipment. The cold-pressed fresh bars of soap are distributed to local communities which lack access to soap or sanitation. Through this process, the local people earn a small income to supplement their livelihood, learn a new skill in recycling soap, and communities receive free access to soap.
Sealed Air’s Soap for Hope livelihood initiative has become an integral part of Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts’ responsible business program, Blu Planet, with a specific focus on conserving and protecting the earth’s priceless water supply. The partnership launched in early September as part of the group’s worldwide Responsible Business Month. Radisson Blu has already brought over 50 Radisson Blu hotels across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa into the Soap for Hope™ program and has pledged to make it a brand wide program. In the program hotels collect and repurpose used guest room soap bars, something that would otherwise end up in a landfill, and in the process, hygiene in the surrounding communities is improved.
Each of the 53 Radisson Blu hotels on the Soap for Hope program produces approximately 1.5 tons of soap waste each year, which will now be diverted from landfills. According to the World Health Organization, a person needs about 120 grams of soap per month for proper hygiene, thus Soap for Hope in Radisson Blu hotels can supply about 55,000 people with soap for 1 year based on their participation in the program.
“We are very excited to have the support of Radisson Blu and parent company Carlson Rezidor for the Soap for Hope program,” said Stefan Phang, Sealed Air Sustainability and CSR Director in the Asia Pacific region. “Soap for Hope creates shared value for our companies, our customers and the communities where we operate. The program also helps Radisson Blu deliver on their efforts to care for water and wash and reduce landfill waste from hotel properties.”
During September’s Responsible Business Action Month, Soap for Hope launched for the first time in Rwanda with the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Center, Kigali.
Mr. Wolfgang Neumann, President and CEO for The Rezidor Hotel Group, and Ms. Inge Huijbrechts, VP of Responsible Business for Carlson Rezidor, participated in the Soap For Hope™ launch event. The very first soap bars they helped to recycle were auctioned for the local community partner Nyamirambo Women's Centre. The Centre provides education and training to local women to provide livelihoods and chance at a stronger position in society.
Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, explained the Company’s interest in the program. “We are delighted to join the Soap for Hope program with Sealed Air. We have been impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment from participating hotels. Providing local access to better hygiene and reducing property waste aligns closely with the brand’s Blu Planet program to encourage water mindfulness and create shared value in the local community.” For our Radisson Blu hotels, recycling their soap waste, and repurposing the product to better the lives of residents in their local communities not only helps them meet their sustainability goals, it just makes good business sense”.
Sealed Air and Radisson Blu hotels are proving once again, that finding a new way with something previously considered waste is not only good for the environment, it’s good for communities and ultimately good for business.
Radisson Blu hotels participating in Soap for Hope can be found here.