A University of Pittsburgh environmental studies student has developed a hotel-donation hygiene solution for Cambodia’s poverty affected regions.
Samir Lakhani has partnered with a number of south-east Asian hotels to develop Eco-Soap Bank, a not for profit organisation that collects discarded soap from Cambodian hotels for recycled liquid soap which is distributed to medical centres, schools and villages, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.
In a similar effort to the soap recycling programs introduced by Hilton and Marriott hotels, the Eco-Soap Bank will collect soap bars discarded by hotels, often after only briefly being used, for sanitation, and a process to liquify the soap and stored in clean recycled plastic bottles, for distribution.
The soap recycling program developed after Mr Lakhani visited Cambodia to construct ponds for a commercial fish farming project.
“I saw mothers bathing babies in laundry detergent and doing dishes, pots and pans, in the powdered detergent too. It’s not the right kind of soap and it’s a horrifying sight,” said Lakhani. “It’s a rural culture that defecates openly and has no history of hand washing.”
According to the report, one in eight children in Cambodia die before they turn five, from preventable disease.
“We’re collecting soap from only 20 of the hotels now. We want to do more, but we’re already getting two tons a month,” Lakhani said.
“We have soap coming out of our ears already, and the raw supply is just about limitless.”