Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 14, 2017
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Hotels that raise the bar

When Derreck Kayongo of Uganda first stayed at a US hotel in the ’90s, he noticed that his soap was being replenished every day even though his bars were only slightly used. He tried to return the soap thinking he was being charged for it. When he found out that restocking was hotel policy, he was shocked.

"My dad, [a former soap maker], said people in America can afford to throw it away,” Kayongo told CNN, “but I just started to think, ‘What if we took some of this soap and recycled it… then send it home to people who couldn't afford soap?’”

In 2009, Kayongo’s Atlanta-based non-profit Global Soap Project started doing exactly that. The organization collects used soap from 300 hotels across the US (and two in Manitoba) and volunteers clean, reprocess and package the bars for impoverished nations where kids often die from diarrheal illness.

A shipment is only released once a sample has been tested and is deemed safe by a third-party laboratory. As of 2010, the company has provided 100,000 bars to communities in nine countries. To donate or help enlist other hotels, go to globalsoap.org.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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