The Right Thing to Do
Plastic and paper recycling stay in the news. Why should people recycle soap? Saving money is the first reason. Secondly, there is a humanitarian need in underdeveloped countries.
Soap scraps can easily recycle into a liquid product, saving the money of buying the latter. Use a double boiler. Heat the water in the bottom to hot but not boiling. In the top pot, place grated or small cubes of soap and an equal amount of water. Stir the mixture until it reaches a consistency of liquid hand cleanser. If the mixture seems too thick, just add more hot water. Cool the mixture down a little before pouring through a funnel into a liquid pump dispenser. Scrub-a-dub-dub!
An International Health Problem
On a more serious note, underdeveloped countries need soap. Millions of children and adults die in these countries due to a simple lack of sanitation. Easy, everyday, life-saving acts such as washing hands are difficult due to lack of this simple commodity. Upon coming to America, a man from Uganda saw, to his amazement, that soap bars were free at hotels. Global Soap Project formed to deliver recycled soap to poor countries.
Some concerns surfaced about the safety of the soap in terms of it carrying diseases. Have no fears. The soap goes through a sanitation process, beginning with the removal of the top layer. Bars are then shredded or chopped into small pieces and go through a sanitizing machine. A sterile tube of the material results. Bars are then cut from that tube. Just to make sure it is safe, a lab performs a safety check on samples.
In addition to Global Soap Project, other organizations now work towards the soap recycling efforts. Clean the World has operations in Orlando, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Toronto. Their bars of soap ship both domestically and overseas. Keep in mind the need that disasters bring about the need for soap.
How to Help
- Never discard soap. Either make liquid soap from left over scraps, or just toss them in a basket to save. Once full, send the basket contents to one of the soap recycling centers.
- When staying in a hotel, take any partially or unused soap bars for addition to the basket. The typical traveler uses only a small part of the bar of soap in a hotel. Partially used bars become garbage.
On a similar note: All the travel size items in a hotel room make for a good collection for homeless shelters. That includes shampoo, conditioners, and body lotions.
All comments welcome on ways to recycle and unusual items to add to the recycle list.