The man who saved children by recycling millions of bars of soap

Soap literally saves lives. Lack of hygiene is one of the causes of infant mortality in many countries of the world. And even though they lack such a simple and essential ingredient, millions of unused soaps are thrown into hotels in developed countries every day. Thanks to one person’s initiative, these pills are recycled in large quantities and sent to poor countries.

These millions of tiny soaps are a waste. American Shawn Seipler and the organization Clean the World collect and recycle to help protect children in 127 countries from life-threatening diseases. It is a movement that started as something symbolic and is already achieving planetary proportions with truly astonishing results.

Due to his job in the sales department at a technology company, Seipler had to leave his Florida home to travel the United States and sleep in hotels four nights a week.

He was staying at one of them in Minneapolis one day in 2008 and had its special revelation. At that time, he started a project that led to the distribution of approximately 70 million recycled soap bars worldwide.

Clear the World Soap Bars Cleanse the World

Born 46 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Seipler wondered what was wrong with complimentary hotel soaps, which are usually used only once and asked at the front desk.

When he found out that they were going straight to the trash, he had the following idea: Use them to benefit the nearly 9,000 children who die each year around the world from diseases that could be prevented by good hand washing, such as pneumonia, cholera or simple but deadly diarrhea.

In an interview with Efeverde, she is proud that the Clean Up the World initiative she founded and led has contributed to the mission of reducing the death rate of children under 5 due to diseases caused by lack of hygiene.

As you may remember, the index decreased by 65% ​​from 2009 to 2020, thanks to the initiatives developed by international organizations. “These are millions of children,” stresses the head of an organization that claims to be part of the United Nations World WASH Group.

Deal with over 8,000 hotels

The great ideas behind giants like Apple, Amazon or Microsoft didn’t just start in a garage. Seipler’s idea of ​​recycling used soap to donate to those who need it most took its first steps in a very small space.

Armed with gloves and potato peelers, he and a group of relatives scraped and recycled the first shipment of used soap they had collected from nearby hotels.

Shawn Seipler, supporter of the initiative Cleanse the World

Thus was born Clean the World, which has already donated nearly 70 million bars of soap and is present in 127 countries.

In addition, it has prevented more than a thousand tons of hotel waste from ending up in landfills in North America alone.

to make it They have signed deals with more than 8,100 hotels, including major chains like Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton or Walt Disney Resorts.In total it represents 1.4 million rooms worldwide.

Arrival in Haiti

The first soaps were given to charities in Florida and arrived in Haiti shortly before the 2010 earthquake that killed nearly 300,000 people.

What he saw there impressed him. They carried a shipment of 2,000 soaps and more than 10,000 people attended a local church. One of them, A mother with a baby in her arms told her that she had already lost two of her children from preventable diseases. with this simple combination of oil, caustic solution and water.

“Since then, we’ve sent nearly three million bars of soap to the same area, to that church, to those mothers, to make sure their soap and hygiene needs are being met,” she explains.

But there are many more areas where these tablets come with a child’s drawing next to the soap bubble and inside the traditional circular recycling symbol: Central America, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, the border between Mexico and the United States, Somalia or Syria, among others.

And soon they will also send hygiene kits containing soap, shampoo, toothpaste and perhaps hand sanitizer or socks to Poland and Romania, where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have fled their countries due to the Russian occupation.

One of the recycling warehouses Cleanse the World

Also mobile showers

Seipler speaks fondly of mothers who are given six million bars of soap each year, of the female victims of “heinous poverty.” With these waste products in developed countries, perhaps they won’t have to keep burying their children.

“The proudest moment is when they say to me, ‘We pray that you not only bring us more, but also bring soap to other mothers in the world who are suffering like us.

But her dream of helping mothers around the world was severely compromised when her enterprise was most needed: the pandemic forced thousands of hotels to close and the soap flow was interrupted.

The NGO of this entrepreneur who opened a lemonade and popcorn street stall at the age of 7, Since 2017, more than 32,000 mobile showers have been donated to help the homeless clean themselves in urban areas, and they have also been offered services such as mental health counseling.

He is also working on projects to recycle large amounts of plastic in the hotel industry and is concerned about the growing insecurity of access to clean water.


Environment department contact

Source: Informacion


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