To mark Global Handwashing Day, Hilton announced the expansion of its soap-recycling programme, totaling 5,300 properties in more than 70 countries and territories around the globe. Hilton’s decade-long soap recycling programme, which is already the largest in the hospitality industry, helps fight the hygiene epidemic plaguing underserved communities where tens of thousands of children die needlessly due to lack of access to basic sanitation. The initiative also contributes to reducing Hilton’s overall environmental impact, which the company has set a goal to cut in half by 2030.
As a part of the programme, Hilton properties in India have successfully recycled more than 20,000 new bars of soap in 2019 to date. It has also expanded its soap distribution locations including schools and villages in Pune and Palghar, saving children from hygiene-related illnesses as well as keeping the soap bars away from the landfills. One of Hilton’s longest soap recycling partners in India, Sundara, a non-profit organisation, employs local women on full-time basis for soap recycling. These women also act as the hygiene ambassadors to educate children on handwashing in their communities.
“Countless childhood deaths could be prevented with access to basic hygiene, yet millions of bars of soap are thrown away every day. By making soap more available to underserved communities in India, we can help minimise hygiene-related epidemics, and positively impact the health of children and families. Additionally, we are committed to eliminating all soap to landfills as part of our Travel with Purpose 2030 goal of cutting our environmental footprint in half by 2030,” said Navjit Ahluwalia, sr VP and country head, Hilton, India.
Since 2016, Hilton hotels in the country have been collecting and sending used pieces of soap to Sundara on a monthly basis. The used soap is recycled – washed, dried, scraped, compacted and repackaged – into brand new bars, which are then distributed to schools and families. Every month, Sundara delivers soap to more than 4,000 children and families in Maharashtra, and conducts training on how to maintain proper personal hygiene.
Aside from reducing soap waste, this initiative has contributed to employment opportunities in secondary cities and improved community health. During the last 10 years, Hilton properties around the world have diverted more than 18 lakh kilograms of waste from landfills. Over 500 thousand kilograms of soap waste from Hilton’s hotels across Asia Pacific have been diverted from landfill to date.