A non-profit organisation in Switzerland is collecting soap from luxury hotels to recycle it and improve sanitary conditions for children and families in need.
Access to proper hygiene saves lives. Around the globe, millions of used hotel soaps are discarded every day and sent off to landfill sites, creating a growing environmental problem. If burnt, soap generates the same amount of CO2 emissions as gasoline.
But if you recycle the soap, it can help avoid the spread of diseases. In developing countries, where access to doctors is very limited, washing your hands can literally save lives. According to UNICEF, more than 300,000 children under the age of five die due to diarrhoea infections linked to a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation.
In 2014, Dorothée Schiesser and her husband founded NGO SapoCycle after realising how much waste is produced by hotels discarding the complimentary sanitary products given to their guests.
The NGO has set up a network of hotels in Switzerland, France and Monaco.
Today, it is partnered with 235 hotels who deliver used soap to help the programme. The team then run workshops where they work with disabled people to teach them about soap recycling. They use specially designed machines made of second-hand kitchen equipment, such as cheese graters, to do so.
Over the last few years, with the help of many other NGOs, SapoCycle has delivered more than 150,000 soaps to tens of thousands of families in refugee camps and developing countries.
Click on the video above to learn more about this project.
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