I have just returned from a two week trip to Brazil to attend the Rio+20 conference. So much happened, interesting speakers, networking, projects I had never heard of before and I’ll tell you more about all that soon. As I am going through my notes from the trip the first thing I wrote at the top of my booklet was the word Soap. This is one of the things I will always remember about my time in this beautiful city. Over the two weeks I stayed in 6 different hotels (long story). Everyone of these hotels was a small hotel, most I chose because of their sustainability policies or because they were small/independent businesses. Each was beautiful, stunning with friendly staff and comfy beds. Each also had a new bar of soap put into the bathroom each and every day.
These weren’t just those cheap little soap bars you often get in hotels. These hotels were all given full sized, high quality soap bars wrapped like new. The first night I opened the bar to use it and enjoy (it is a Brazilan company and really different from other soaps I’ve used). The next day when I came back to my room my open bar of soap had been replaced with a new one. What happened to that whole bar of soap that I had only used maybe 5 times? So I opened the second bar and that evening I hid it in my cupboard and ended up bringing it with me for the full two weeks. Every hotel I stayed in had another large bar of soap. At one hotel I got the packaging a little bit wet (I didn’t use it). They replaced that one with a new one. If I was using those bars of soap here at home how long would 14 large bars of soap last a person, a year?
There are lots of little things like this around us that are a wasted. They seem so little but these things add up. These hotels could have the same brand of soap but in a pump by the sink or in the shower so that you just need to refill it. I always travel with my own soap because I like it and so that I don’t have to open all the new ones I’m given. Just like that you have eliminated a huge amount of waste (Each of these hotels had 10 rooms at least each so that’s, in two weeks, 140 bars of soap!) These are things that are easy to change, but often the things that people don’t look at or think of changing, maybe because it is too easy. Can you think of any other simple things like this?
On a few occasions, I have told my hotel staff not to replace my soap bar till I ask for it explicitly. A refillable shower gel or soap solution seems like common sense if you think sustainability. Great point!!