Laguna hotels to recycle all soaps

Establishments with more than 20 rooms are part of Clean the World, a nonprofit that gives recycled soaps and hygiene products to those in need.

November 10, 2011|From

Laguna Beach welcomes more than 6 million visitors annually to its sandy shores. Now visitors who stay in the city's 22 hotels and lodging establishments will be inadvertent participants in a citywide effort to recycle all of the soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, lotions and bath gels that are left over after a night's stay.

Starting Monday, Laguna Beach became the first city in the nation to have all of its hotel properties with more than 20 rooms participate in Clean the World, a Florida-based nonprofit that provides recycled hotel soaps and hygiene products to those in need.

Montage Laguna Beach, Pacific Edge Hotel and Best Western Laguna Brisas are among the 18 participating hotels, along with four of the city's six bed and breakfasts, for a total of 1,229 rooms.


In an average year, with an estimated 75% occupancy rate, Laguna Beach hotels generate 336,000 bars of soap and a slightly lesser number of shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and lotion bottles, all of which were previously thrown in the trash. Working with Clean the World, those hygiene products will be reclaimed by the housekeeping staff and set aside in a separate receptacle to be shipped to a Las Vegas processing facility.

The bars of soap are cleaned of hair and paper, sterilized, ground into pellets and pressed into new bars of soap that are distributed to nongovernmental organizations in 45 countries that do not have ready access to soap.

The bottled amenities are likewise reclaimed. If they're full, the bottles' exteriors are sterilized and redistributed to homeless shelters and soup kitchens inside the U.S. If the bottles are 25% empty, the plastic is recycled or potentially upcycled for use in other products.

Founded in 2009, Clean the World has 1,200 partner hotels across the U.S. and Canada, 126 of which are in California, including the Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim. Since joining the Clean the World Hospitality Partnership Program in July, Disney's three Southern California resorts have collected 3,152 pounds of hotel soap and 2,212 pounds of bottled amenities such as shampoo.

Clean the World charges hotels 65 cents per room per month for the service. Of the 4.6 million hotel rooms in the U.S., Clean the World recycles the hygiene products for about 6% of them, said Shawn Seipler, who co-founded the nonprofit in 2009.

At the time, Seipler was a business executive and on the road four nights a week.

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