Equity Health

Eco-Soap Bank Saves Lives Through Recycled Soap

-Person in Photo: Students at Prey Dangherm School -About image: Students with soap after hygiene Lesson at Prey Dangherm School in Prey Dangherm Village, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia -Photographer's Name: Sharon Radisch -Project #: 1631 Eco-Soap Bank Cambodia -Country: Cambodia -Photographers Without Borders -November 2016

A humanitarian and environmental non-profit organization founded in Pittsburgh, Eco-Soap Bank recovers, saves and sanitizes soap from hotels in Cambodia, then packages and donates the recycled hotel soap for use in the developing world where lack of access to soap remains a critical factor in fighting the spread of preventable diseases.  Recycling and work is also taking place in Nepal.

Since its inception in 2014, Eco-Soap Bank has partnered with 161 hotels and 26 distribution partners, recycled more than 24,000 pounds of soap, and made nearly 175,000 donations to schools, health clinics and village communities. The organization employs Cambodian women from disadvantaged backgrounds who also serve as hygiene ambassadors, selling recycled soap in their communities and promoting its use.

According to Eco-Soap, in some resource-poor countries, only one percent of households have soap for hand washing. Eco-Soap Bank seeks to address this critical need, and since 2014, has sustainably supplied over 650,000 people with soap and hygiene education. The organization is working to expand its reach to other developing countries with high mortality rates associated with hygiene-related illnesses.

“The thinking is simple,” says Lakhani. “No child should suffer from a preventable illness because there wasn’t any soap available. In pursuit of that idea, we have been able to divert 26,000 pounds of waste from landfills, provide employment opportunities and skills training to dozens of women, and most importantly, get soap into the hands of hundreds of thousands of school-children.”

Samir Lakhani is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and currently resides in Pittsburgh.  He was recently named a 2017 CNN Hero. Learn more at www.ecosoapbank.org .

Media Contact: Samir Lakhani, Founder, Samir@ecosoapbank.org