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Responsible Tourism – What happens to all your toiletries? What can you do about it?

You may or may not be aware of what happens to all those toiletries you left behind in your hotel on checking out. Well, more likely than not, they will end up in a trash bin and eventually dumped into a landfill. The Telegraph reported:
Every day millions of bars of soap and half-used bottles of shampoo are discarded in hotel shower trays around the world; abandoned by guests who didn’t stay long enough to use them up.

Many of these toiletries are scooped up by chambermaids, thrown into bin bags and sent off to landfill sites, which is a disaster for the environment and a social travesty given that many people around the world are going without proper sanitation.
The figures are startling: according to the World Health Organisation, millions of lives could be saved if the planet’s poorest people had access to soap, a humble product that most of us take for granted.
…” (The shameful truth behind what happens to all your leftover hotel toiletries)
While there are efforts to help recycle such soap bars:

these are limited to certain counties. Instead of walking away and saying that it can’t be helped, what can you as a traveller do to help the environment and at the same time save some money as well?
Bring that soap bar with you
Take that used bar of soap with you. It’s not going to take much space in your luggage. Just wrap two sheets of facial tissues around it and pop it into your toiletries bag. Your reuse that same bar of soap at the next hotel or two instead of opening a new bar.
In-room laundry
Other than using it at the next hotel, consider using that bar as a convenient mean to wash your small personal items on a trip.
Forbes reported:

Ensconced in one of the most expensive suites in Beverly Hills, at the Montage Hotel, action movie star Jackie Chan seemingly wants to talk about how frugal he is. Decked out in a Jackie Chan-branded shirt emblazoned with his trademark dragon logo, he leads me into the master bathroom of his hotel suite and removes a worn bar of soap from a plastic bag, explaining that he took it from his room at the MGM Grand in Macau instead of wastefully discarding it: “This soap follows me around the world.” ” (Big Bucks For Big Brother: Why Jackie Chan Is The World’s Second-Highest Paid Actor)

While Jackie Chan is content with using it for his socks and underwear, it is (from my personal experience) equally good for shirts on a work trip where you are travelling light with just a few shirts for a week long trip. Not only are you helping to cut back on waste, you are saving quite a bit on your laundry cost for items that you can easily hand wash at night and letting them dry overnight and the day when you are out of the room. Just make sure you give it a good squeeze before hanging them to help them dry faster and more evenly.
Home use
Let’s face it. How often do we purposely buy a soap bar or a bottle of hand wash for use by the basin? While we wash our hands a few times a day, we go through that bar or that bottle rather slowly. Why not just put that used bar on a soap rack beside the tap and replace them as and when you return back from a trip.
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Please let me know if you have any ways to help fight waste of such toiletries in the comments section below.
Be sure to check out my other posts covering different aspects of travelling.

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