Unused soap from a hotel in Dunedin has ended up in Ghana as part of a global Soap Aid scheme.
Scenic Hotel Group has so far sent a pallet load of soap to a recyclers in Australia for the not-for-profit organisation, Soap Aid.
Scenic joined the scheme at the end of last year and is being rolled out across the 18-hotel chain. The charity collects and reprocesses hotel waste soap, redirecting it from Australian and New Zealand landfills to communities around the world without access to adequate sanitation.
Soap Aid says about 1.4 million children under the age of five die each year due to preventable childhood infectious diseases including diarrhoea and pneumonia, which hand washing with soap can significantly reduce.
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"Working with community impact partners we've sent more than 830,000 bars of recycled soap to targeted communities in Western Australia, Fiji, Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, Zambia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, India and Indonesia," said chief executive Mike Matulick.
Scenic's executive chairwoman Lani Hagaman said while the group had worked on environmental and community initiatives at a local level, the opportunity to make a difference on a global scale was something it could not pass up.
''With the opportunity for waste being so significant in the hospitality industry, something as simple as Soap Aid seemed absolutely the right thing to get behind," said Hagaman.
The soap was collected by hotel staff and when there is sufficient quantities transported to Melbourne where volunteers initially sort it by hand. It is ground down, filtered, heat treated and then made into bars before being shipped around the world. The soap can be traced to the community it is sent.
She said the scheme had the most ''utmost transparency'' and encouraged other hotel companies to get involved.