Hilton mandates soap recycling for three brands

Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta demonstrates hand washing hygiene in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta demonstrates hand washing hygiene in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

MCLEAN, Va. — While handwashing is part of most of our daily routines, hygiene-related illnesses continue to be a leading cause of death around the world. In countries like Haiti, which faces a cholera epidemic in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a combination of a lack of education and the resources for handwashing is life-threatening.

Hilton has announced that it will make recycling unused and partially used soap and toiletries a standard practice at all 750 of its All Suites hotels, including Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton. 

Marking the first time in the industry this is required as a brand standard, it is a major expansion of what is already the industry's largest soap recycling program that now includes 1,370 hotels participating across Hilton's portfolio, rolling out starting Nov. 15.

The hospitality industry wastes a lot of soap, spurring the company into action on a mass scale and launching the first brand standard of its kind in the hospitality industry. This is an expansion of Hilton’s partnership with organizations like Clean the World, which has already collected more than 1 million pounds of used soap that has been recycled into 4 million new bars.

Bill Duncan

Bill Duncan

“It's very meaningful and relatively easy to implement,” said Bill Duncan, global head of Hilton's All Suites brands. “There's not much cost — soap collection costs about $60 per month. It also fits with the DNA and spirit of these three brands.

“Clean the World has a foolproof process where we collect used soap and shampoo, separate them into two bins, one for used soap and one for leftover containers,” said Duncan. Once the bins are full, they put the contents into small packing crates and then ship them off to one of Clean the World's recycling centres. There they are processed, remanufactured into new soap bars and prepared for distribution to homeless shelters, community centers and medical facilities in impoverished communities around the world.

“Nearly two million children die every year from preventable hygiene-related illnesses, and simple handwashing could cut these rates by nearly 50 percent,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton. 

Hilton's All Suites brands comprise nearly 15 percent of Hilton's current portfolio and 29 percent of its pipeline, and the new brand standard will nearly double the number of hotels participating in the soap-recycling program.

Through its partnerships with Clean the World and other organizations, Hilton's hotels have already collected more than one million pounds of partially-used soap, which have been recycled into more than four million new bars of soap. This process has also prevented more than 570 tons of waste going to landfills. In addition to supplying the soap, these organizations educate people about the importance of hygiene and handwashing.