Looking for little ways to be a more sustainable traveler in 2018? You might want to take a look at your go-to hotel’s bathroom soap.
It may seem like a far cry from recycling or carpooling, but picking your preferred hotel brand based on its sustainability practices—no matter how small—can be an effective way to vote with your wallet. That might be why more travel companies are joining forces with a growing roster of “one-for-one” retailers to make a difference. One-for-one companies give charitably for every sale they make: Toms shoes started the trend years ago, and the practice has extended to other retail businesses like Bombas socks and Vessel bags. But now you can apply that “buy one, donate one” thinking to your hotel soap.
One Canadian brand expanding into the U.S. is leading the way with a partnership that will donate 1.4 million bars of soap in 2018 alone.
Hotel Soap with a Purpose
In some areas of the world, preventable diseases can be deadly due to lack of proper hand washing—making a humble bar of soap an incredibly valuable donation. Soapbox Soaps and Delta Hotels by Marriott recently joined forces to benefit both charities and travelers. For every hotel room, Delta stocks with Soapbox Soaps (now all of Delta’s 50 properties) Soapbox donates one bar. And now Marriott loyalty members can even redeem their rewards points for a chance to travel overseas to further lend a hand.
“Delta aims to give travelers what they need to make travel seamless. We wanted a premium bath amenity, and we also liked Soapbox’s social responsibility,” Delta Global Brand Leader Greg Durrer said. Marriott’s reward experiences, Marriott Moments, is offering members a points opportunity to join Soapbox and its charitable partner Sundara on a mission trip to India.
Where Your Hotel Soap Goes (and You Can, Too)
Taking voluntourism to a whole new level, Marriott members can bid on the India experience, which includes “business class flights for a member and his or her guest to Mumbai, with a six-day, five-night stay,” Marriott says. “The package will be available through the Marriott Moments platform and feature a community visit to one of Mumbai’s neighboring villages with Delta Hotels to meet Sundara’s hygiene ambassadors, help launch hygiene stations, and facilitate soap recycling demonstrations to the local community.”
In addition to creating natural, high-end soaps and lotions, Soapbox works with 35 charities across 65 countries, including in the U.S., to give away bars of its soap. The donations help families in the U.S. and save lives in places like India, Uganda, and Haiti—all of which Soapbox CEO David Simnick has visited to connect with the companies’ partner charities.
“Each Delta Hotel bathroom gets one whole amenity kit, which donates one bar of soap,” Simnick says. Guests staying at Delta Hotels will be able to enter one of Soapbox’s handy Hope Codes, which are stamped on each amenity kit, on the company’s website to see exactly where their matching donation has been made and why.
It’s not just far-off communities benefiting from Soapbox and Delta: When I stayed at a Delta Hotel earlier this year, I received my own amenity kit and Hope Code, which connected my stay to CAN Baltimore Soap Donation in Maryland. Soapbox’s Baltimore partner is Clean the World, which recycles leftover soap from hotels and donates cleaned, reformed bars to be given out at the local food bank. Hope codes come with every Soapbox Soap product (which you can buy online, too) so you’ll know where your purchase made a difference.
“We’re raising the bar, pun intended,” said Simnick.
Find out more about the Marriott Moments program here.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 8 Ways to See Wildlife Responsibly While Traveling
- To Uncover the Magic of Sri Lanka, Go Small
- What to Do if In-Flight Sexual Assault Happens to You
Editor’s Note: SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon visited the flagship Delta Hotel in Toronto, Canada courtesy of Marriott Hotels.