Cleaning House

Last week, Clean the World opened a new recycling operations center in Las Vegas, courtesy of a grant from the Caesars Foundation. The Orlando-based nonprofit’s mission is to recycle unused hotel soap and shampoo, sanitizing and redistributing it to children in developing countries, for whom improved hygiene is a matter of life and death.

Clean the World was founded in 2009 by Shawn Seipler and Paul Till, who initially wanted to make money selling reclaimed soap. Investigating further, they learned the U.S. consumer market wouldn’t be receptive to pre-used personal cleaning products. Instead, Seipler hit on the idea of using the million bars of soap that hotels throw out each day to make the world healthier.

The nonprofit now works with 1,300 hotel partners in North America. Housekeepers collect used products, which are shipped to processing facilities such as the newly opened center in Las Vegas. There, the soap is sanitized in an eco-friendly bleach solution and ground into pellets. Next, it’s processed through a soap press, which can turn out 80,000 bars of soap a day.

Once the soap is cut into standard 3-ounce bars, it’s boxed and shipped to organizations that get the soap to places where it’s needed. Post-tsunami Japan and post-earthquake Haiti received shipments, as have more than 40 other countries. Bottled amenities such as shampoos and lotions are also sanitized and sent to homeless shelters and women’s shelters in the U.S. and abroad.

With 10 million bars of soap distributed since its founding, Clean the World has developed a solid Las Vegas presence. Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and many other hotels have signed on as partners.