One of world's largest hotel chains to recycle toiletries

Ever wondered what happens to those complementary bottles of shampoo, bars of soap and other amenities that are provided to guests at hotels? Well, most of the time, they're thrown away. Every day, approximately 1 million items of soap are thrown into the trash.

That's all about to change with a new agreement between organization Clean the World and one of the world's largest hotel operators, Starwood. Through the new initiative, Starwood's hotel franchises - which include Westin and Sheraton - will be recycling around 1.6 million pounds of soap and other materials each year.

After being collected, the soap is sterilized and then refitted into new, two-ounce bars that are distributed to countries in need. Clean the World estimates that 9,000 children die each day from diseases that could be prevented by washing with soap. Countries such as Haiti, Japan, Zimbabwe and Uganda have all benefited from the program.

Thus far, there are four different recycling facilities run by Clean the World that help create the new products from the recycled ones. The organization began its mission several years ago, helping around 80 different Orlando hotels start re-using their materials.

The partnership with Starwood, however, marks a groundbreaking step in the group's mission, because it is the first agreement that has been reached with a larger corporation.

"[This partnership] should make every member of our Starwood family feel better about the role they play," said Denise Coil, the president of Starwood Hotels' North America division. reports that the organization has distributed 4 million soap bars and 200,000 pounds of shampoo back to those who need it. The effort has also successfully eliminated more than 380 tons of waste.