When Derrek Kayongo realized how many lives could be saved from salvaging the soap his hotel threw out, the former Ugandan refugee decided he had to do something.
That's when he came up with the the Global Soap Project.
Set up in May 2009 by Kayongo and his wife in their Atlanta basement, the nonprofit recovers and recycles soap from hotels by sanitizing, melting and remolding it into new bars for shipment to vulnerable communities abroad, reports Business Green.
"When living as a refugee in Kenya, I realized soap was hard to come by, even completely nonexistent sometimes," said Kayongo in a press statement.. "Even when available, those living on less than a dollar a day had to choose between buying food or soap. People were suffering from illness simply because they couldn't wash their hands."
The Global Soap Project has gotten an extra boost now that Hilton Worldwide announced plans to donate soap and invest $1.3 million over the next three years to help the not for profit expand its operations, notes Treehugger.
And with 2.6 million soap bars thrown out each day by the U.S. hotel industry, there's certainly no shortage.
While some 300 hotels have helped ship 25 tons of soap to 20 countries since the project's inception, the mega hotel chain hopes it can help the Global Soap Project set up an infrastructure to process large-scale soap donations at no cost to the participating hotels, reports Greenbiz.com.
"We are proud to invest in the Global Soap Project and are excited to leverage our expertise to support their organisation, while simultaneously solving critical social needs," said Christopher Corpuel, vice president of sustainability at Hilton Worldwide.
Access to soap and good hygiene can save millions of lives. Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together account for 2.3 million child deaths annually, according to UNICEF.