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🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Providing sustainable in-room amenities, such as refilling soap dispensers or recycling used bar soaps, can make a significant impact on both the environment and society. Initiatives like Clean the World help to promote eco-friendliness and aid in impoverished communities.
  2. Recycling unutilized hotel soaps can benefit the environment and serve impoverished communities' basic needs, promoting widespread cleanliness.
  3. Teaching proper handwashing and providing soap can significantly reduce deaths from pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. Clean the World transforms discarded hotel soap into new bars for distribution to those in need.
  4. Clean the World's recycling initiative reduces waste, provides soap to disadvantaged communities, and benefits hotels. To further tackle waste, individuals must also be incentivized to bring unused soap while traveling.
  5. Interviewing people actually doing the job provides unique solutions and perspectives. Seek firsthand accounts in private social media groups and online forums to gain in-depth knowledge and address real-world problems.
  6. Accessing private social media groups of people at the end of supply chains can provide valuable insight into micro elements behind major headlines. Don't underestimate the importance of understanding perspectives from those often ignored by experts.

📝 Podcast Summary

The Importance of Sustainable Practices in Providing In-Room Amenities

Hotels have been providing bar soaps since early 20th century, and it's still one of the most popular in-room amenities. However, it's not an eco-friendly practice, as most of the used soap bars end up in landfills. Shawn Seipler, a tech executive, was bothered by it, and his inquiry led to the creation of Clean the World, an organization that recycles used hotel soaps and distributes them to impoverished communities. While some hotels are adopting refillable dispensers, most still stick to the traditional bar soaps due to its popularity among guests. It's important to consider sustainable practices when providing customer amenities, and initiatives like Clean the World can make a significant impact on both environmental and societal levels.

Transforming Half-Used Hotel Soaps into Brand-New Bars

Shawn Seipler started recycling half-used hotel soaps that ended up in landfills every day. With the help of family and friends, he set up a mad scientist lab in his garage and learned to rebatch and make brand-new bars of soap. He got the first donor, Peter Favier, who offered everything required to collect used soap from the hotel and get it back to him. Access to soap and collecting soap was not the issue. Seipler found the answer to this recycled soap that surprised him. He tackled a dilemma, creating a recycling company, Clean the World, to meet the world's need of cleanliness in impoverished neighborhoods.

Clean the World Recycles Soap to Improve Hygiene in Communities in Need

Teaching children to wash their hands could cut pneumonia and diarrheal disease deaths in half. Clean the World is a non-profit organization that recycles old soap from hotels and transforms it into new bars of soap. The process involves grinding the soap through a metal screw and filtering the surface material. The team blends different types and fragrances of soap shreds sent by hotel chains to create new bars of soap. The Soap Whisperer, Carlos Anderson, determines the amount of water needed to make the soap firm but not crumbly. This process helps to provide soap and hygiene products to communities in need around the world.

Clean the World: Recycling Hotel Soaps for a Cause

Clean the World is a social enterprise that recycles soap from hotels and donates them to disadvantaged communities. This initiative has diverted 22 million pounds of waste and distributed 75 million bars of soap to countries like Dominican Republic, Nairobi, Uganda, the Philippines, and Ukraine. Hotels pay Clean the World 50 to 80 cents per room per month, and this provides a win-win solution for reducing landfill waste and getting a positive PR value. However, Clean the World cannot save all soaps from waste, and there is a need to address the root of the problem by incentivizing people to bring their soap when travelling.

The power of firsthand experience in gaining valuable insights

Interesting and useful information can come from anyone, not just academics and experts. Interviewing people who actually do the job and are in the midst of the problem can give new insights and solutions. To get in-depth knowledge, questions are less important than the people being asked to share their experience. You can find these people in private social media groups, online forums, and networking events. Instead of relying on traditional sources, looking for firsthand accounts from people can provide a fascinating connection that may not be seen through a broader economic lens. By exploring different jobs and talking to people about their experiences, one can learn valuable insights that can help address real-world problems.

Finding extraordinary insights in ordinary places

Crockett believes in finding the extraordinary in the ordinary by accessing private Facebook groups of people at the end of the supply chain who have interesting things to say. Gas station owners are often left out of high-profile interviews in major publications, but they have valuable insight on gas prices, supply chains, and international relations. He interacts with moderators to get access to these groups and usually learns new things from strange and unusual updates. Joining these groups is a method to learn about the micro elements behind major headlines. He believes in understanding from people who are often ignored by experts.