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  • There's an episode of Friends where Ross and Chandler are checking out of a hotel in Vermont.

  • Could you have some complimentary toiletries sent up to my room?

  • As Ross picks up his suitcase to leave, it bursts open and an avalanche of mini soaps and lotions comes tumbling out.

  • It's admittedly a lot of stuff, but not compared to what's actually left behind in hotel rooms.

  • So what happens to the toiletries that don't fit into Ross' suitcase?

  • Shawn Seipler used to stay in around 150 hotel rooms a year.

  • One day, a thought hit him.

  • What happens to all the half-used soaps he leaves behind?

  • When he called the front desk to ask, they told him it all just gets tossed.

  • So in 2009, he started Clean the World out of a one-car garage in Florida.

  • With a few friends, some potato peelers, meat grinders, and cookers, Seipler developed a way to recycle used bars of soap into new, sterile ones, which can then be donated to children and families around the world who don't have easy access to soap.

  • That makes them susceptible to diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea, which kill almost 1.5 million children under five every year but can be prevented by hand washing.

  • Since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 50 million bars of soap to people in 127 countries.

  • The nonprofit initiative quickly outgrew the garage and now has recycling facilities in Orlando, Las Vegas, Montreal, and Hong Kong.

  • And it works with 8,000 hotel and resort partners, including Walt Disney World Hotels, Marriott, and Hilton.

  • Hilton joined forces with Clean the World in March 2019.

  • In its first seven months, Hilton donated 2 million pounds of toiletries, which contributed to 7.6 million bars of recycled soap.

  • But how do you clean the thing that does the cleaning?

  • Here's how it works.

  • Starting at the hotel, staff members are trained on the collection and recycling process.

  • Housekeeping collects the used bars and bottles and deposits them in special bins.

  • The bins are then transported to one of Clean the World's recycling facilities.

  • There the toiletries are sorted by product before entering the first stage of the recycling process.

  • For bar soap, it's first surface cleaned before going through a sterilization process that eliminates all pathogens.

  • The sterilized bars are then ground up and put through a manufacturing line where they're remolded into new bars.

  • Once they're boxed and loaded onto pallets, the bars are distributed to homeless shelters and organizations in the US and to people in need around the world.

  • Hilton has pledged to divert all of its soap from ending up in the trash by 2030.

  • And Clean the World has kept 20 million pounds of hotel waste from polluting North American landfills since it was founded.

  • Some hotels are starting to take a different approach to cutting down waste by eliminating single-use toiletries from their rooms entirely, instead opting for bulk offerings.

  • Clean the World knows that this is a possibility for its hotel partners as well.

  • The plan would be to create new "impact products" like hygiene kits and corporate event packages to make up for the potential drop in production and revenue.

  • As of now, Hilton hasn't decided to make the switch from individual to bulk toiletries.

  • So if you're staying in a Hilton hotel or another of Clean the World's partners, don't be like Ross.

  • Instead of taking one, um, I take six.

  • Leave that stuff behind.

  • Your twice-used soaps won't go to waste.

There's an episode of Friends where Ross and Chandler are checking out of a hotel in Vermont.

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