"Finish your dinner - there are people starving in Africa, you know."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That's something many of us heard around the dinner table as children, and the response to that often is "Well, if I could give my leftovers to the starving people you're talking about I certainly would." That's not a possibility with food, but at least it is with soap. Derreck Kayongo from Uganda has launched a project called the Global Soap Project, which takes used soap from locations such as hotels, melts them down, sterilizes them and turns them into new bars of soap which are then shipped to countries that need them.

Since he first had the idea to recycle soap after spending a night in a hotel and noticing that the soap had been replaced the next day, perhaps he has plans to recycle other objects as well? Other disposable items in hotels include toothbrushes and razors, and though the idea of using someone else's toothbrush might seem a little odd it should be no problem if properly sterilized, and hotel toothbrushes are only used for a single day anyway so I doubt anyone otherwise toothbrushless would complain about being given one for free that had been used once and then sterilized.

Other not so glamorous but very effective and necessary projects include iodized salt, and mosquito nets. Iodized salt costs just pennies per ton, and mosquito nets are something like $10, a small price to pay for a significant reduction in malaria.


Kjetil said...

As this idea is great, the best would be to just bring your own soap and toothbrush and use less resources. In Norway it's common* with soap dispensers both for handwash and shower, and you have to bring your own toothbrush.

As recycling is better than nothing, it's still not very optimal.

*This is at least the standard of the Choice-hotels scandinavia, which is the biggest hotel chain

Me said...

You see that in a lot of cheap hotels (business hotels) in Japan and elsewhere too. In more expensive hotels in most part of the world though customers seem to like the idea of having everything disposable. I'm sure in Scandinavia it's less of a big deal though and most would rather have the satisfaction of a small environmental impact than the fun of using disposable items.

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