Skip the phone booth — your bathroom is a better place for saving the planet

Heroes are made in the bathroom.

Along with being the place where most of us begin our day, the bathroom might be considered an epicenter for sustainability. There’s the tap, which we don’t let run while brushing our teeth; the toilet we flush sparingly, the scale that shows us if we’ve overindulged, towels to re-use, and the many plastic bottles to add to the recycle bin. There’s also plenty more you probably didn’nt know about!

Take, for instance, toothpaste… Tom’s of Maine has partnered with Terracycle — known for meeting hard-to-recycle challenges — to help families recycle broken toys. Go to http://www.tomsofmaine.com/lesswaste/, to download a label to send up to 10 pounds of toys to Terracycle. The toys will be processed and kept out of landfills.

Not only will Tom’s of Maine foot the UPS bill to ship your family’s spent toys. but it also plans to send no waste to landfills by 2020.

Now on to soap… Did you know over 5 million bars of soap are tossed out by travelers and hotels every day across the world? What a waste. But now an American company named Clean the World collects hotel soap for a process called “re-batching.” The used soap is melted to make new soap for areas of the world struggling with poverty and hygiene. Proper hygiene can mitigate deaths from common illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhea.

Founder of the company, Shawn Seipler, came up with the idea while traveling for work. He recruited help from relatives in Puerto Rico who joined him in sitting on pickle buckets in a garage, using vegetable peelers on the soap.

Seipler expanded and created contracts with hotel chains. He left his old job and launched Clean the World. Participating hotels pay 50 cents per room per month for the recycling process. Plants operate in Orlando, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and Montreal. Look for a placard about it in your hotel rooms. In 2016 Clean the World produced 7 million bars, and sent half a million to Haiti and the Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew.

What’s more, in the 7 years since operation began, Clean the World has likely contributed to the worldwide decline in child deaths due to diseases easily prevented by improved hygiene.

Indeed, standing in front of the bathroom mirror is a fine time to reflect on your role in a sustainable world.

This story is the text version of radioBANG, a short-form podcast available on SoundCloud and iTunes, and broadcast on participating noncommercial and college radio stations. Support for radioBANG comes from the Net Impact, hosting its 2017 conference Oct. 26-28 in Atlanta. Thousands of peers and mentors will connect for careers that impact the world. More information is at NetImpact.org.

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