Saving lives in Uganda, Haiti and Kenya with recycled hotel soap

By John D. Sutter, CNN

Check out this recent story on a CNN Heroes candidate, Derreck Kayongo.

Kayongo's non-profit, the Global Soap Project, recycles half-used soap from hotels and makes it into new soap that can be used in the developing world, where, he says, the high costs of soap prohibit healthy sanitation.

In essence, Kayongo's thesis is this: Soap can save lives.

More from the story on the origins of this project:

    Kayongo, a Uganda native, thought of the idea in the early 1990s, when he first arrived to the U.S. and stayed at a hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He noticed that his bathroom was replenished with new soap bars every day, even though they were only slightly used.

    "I tried to return the new soap to the concierge since I thought they were charging me for it," Kayongo said. "When I was told it was just hotel policy to provide new soap every day, I couldn't believe it."

    And I love this bit of perspective about one of his first hotel experiences in the United States. Sometimes it takes someone who is outside a given system to see how that system might be flawed. I stay in lots of hotels and never thought twice about the soap:

    "I was shocked just to know how much (soap) at the end of the day was thrown away," Kayongo said. Each year, hundreds of millions of soap bars are discarded in North America alone. "Are we really throwing away that much soap at the expense of other people who don't have anything? It just doesn't sound right."

    For more about CNN Heroes, check out this website.