SapoCycle turns discarded hotel soaps into life-saving products
Headquarters8001 Zürich, Switzerland
We are a non-profit organisation based in Switzerland and In France that collects discarded soaps in European hotels, reprocesses them and distributes the recycled soaps to improve sanitary conditions of children and families in need. People with disabilities are in charge of the soap recycling, which allows them to work in a stable environment.
Proper handwashing may save the lives of 800 children a day worldwide (UNICEF 2016) especially in countries in development with poor sanitary conditions, but nowadays handwashing is also one of the main measures to avoid catching viruses and bacteria in developed countries. Soap kills microorganisms by disorganizing their membrane lipid bilayer and denaturing their proteins. It also emulsifies oils, enabling them to be carried away by running water
On the other hand, thousands of tons of barely used hotel soaps are thrown away by hotels around the world. Soap, due to its formula, can be just cleaned and upcycled to create new bars of soaps.
Combining these 2 premises, we developed a process to clean, sort, ground and heat the used soaps, in raising awareness of social responsibility. We have long term relationships with more than 240 hotels in France and Switzerland which send us their used soaps.
Through a study made by students of the Life sciences department of the FHNW (Switzerland), it has been proved that our process requires ten times less CO2 than conventional waste management.
We are also involved in social integration, working with 2 institutions providing work to people with intellectual disabilities.
The recycled bars of soap are then distributed to various relief organisations that help people in need, both within Switzerland, France and worldwide (refugee camps, vaccination campaigns, food and hygiene distribution in France and Switzerland). More than 190'000 bars of soaps have been distributed since 5 years.
Our objective for the next years is to develop a system of social franchising, helping the implementation of our processes in other developed or in development countries.
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