Austin eaton


Hello, I am Austin Eaton, Head of Marketing at Clean the World Europe and UK.

Have you ever asked yourself where the little bar of soap in your hotel bathroom goes after you leave?

I actually did, but I was not the first one. Back in 2009, Founder and CEO of Clean the World, Shawn Seipler asked himself this very question, after countless nights spent in hotel rooms for work. Little did he know that this question would catalyze the birth of Clean the World. Shocked by the revelation that the hospitality industry was discarding millions of soap bars each year and driven by a deep sense of responsibility, Shawn, transformed a humble one-car garage in Orlando, Florida, into the epicenter of soap recycling. Setting in motion a movement that would change lives and communities around the world.

Now a global leader in environmental and social impact solutions, Clean the World strives to make the world a better place by diverting soap bars and now also plastic bottled amenities that the hospitality industry would otherwise discard onto landfills. By doing so, Clean the World helps reduce pollution, saves water and decreases the carbon footprint of thousands of hotels globally, while helping to improve the lives of communities in need globally. All by donating new soap bars to global NGOs, such as The WASH Foundation.

With over 8,300 participants in its Global Hospitality Recycling Program, and more than 1.4 million hotel rooms processed daily, Clean the World has already diverted over 10 million kilograms of waste from landfills and donated over 84 million bars of recycled soap since its inception in 2009.

So Austin, why Sustainability?

I always felt a calling to pursue a career in sustainability and after graduating with a BA (honours) in Business Management (Sustainable futures, and Innovation) my values drove me to find a career with meaning and purpose. And so, in 2022, I joined Clean the World and started my journey into the sustainable world of hospitality, within the marketing and communications field, which, in our interconnected digital world, is a fantastic and important way to reach a large number of people, communicating a positive message.

The social tipping point

We are wondering, how you are supposed to make a change as a single person? I guess I am really inspired by the idea of the social tipping point, where a group of 25 percent of the population can trigger widespread perception change. I believe in the ripple effect of individual actions, where influencing one person to make a positive impact can lead to a domino effect of change going through society. This inspired me to take small actions to contribute to people changing their perceptions and lifestyle habits and promoting the importance of being conscious consumers and the awareness of the use of, for example, single-use plastics. We can all make simple changes like swapping single use plastic bottles for refillable ones, which multiplied, can create massive impact.

If we can all do those little things, it has a huge impact.

Clean the World has donated over 84 million bars of soap to communities in need both domestically and internationally since starting in 2009. And that number is just continuing to increase as the program continues to grow globally. There is a huge demand in the hospitality industry to recycle waste and since we’ve expanded into several regions around the world, we’ve been able to understand the different demands for waste management. Certainly, in Europe, plastic is heavily used in hotels so finding a solution was really important.

It is very simple for hotels to sign up and become our partners. We have different recycling programs hotels participate in, including our: soap only program our plastic bottled amenity program and our full program which includes both soap and plastic bottled amenities, all which can be tailored to support our hotel partners divert their waste from landfills.

An impact reporting system, which allows hotel partners to track, measure and record their impact.

Clean the World has an impact reporting system, which allows hotel partners to track, measure and record their impact. This data is vitally important to our partners sustainability objectives, allowing them to set sustainability goals and keep their team in the loop, which acts as a big motivator to continue and participate in our programs.

The future is set to bring further sustainability regulations across the globe, seen this year in the EU with new CSRD regulations in place for larger organizations. Clean the World wants to make it simpler for the hospitality industry to reach these goals. I am personally excited to see where this all leads by 2030 and believe we will have a strong impact and continuously grow.

The Process.

Depending on what program a hotel signs up for, we provide the appropriate boxes to collect all the waste. The housekeeping staff fills up the boxes and once they are full, our partners can simply log into the Clean the World portal, order new boxes and schedule a collection. We provide a shipping label, and the boxes are picked up and sent back to our sorting facilities and recycling centres.

The soap waste goes through several stages of including being crushed, ground and sanitised into new soap bars, where they are audited by a third party aligning with strict EU cosmetic laws and regulations.

In Europe, the plastic bottles go through a very similar process as the soap. The plastic is separated, as well as the leftover liquids, and afterwards, ground up into flakes, which can be recycled into new circular products. The leftover liquids are also collected and can be recycled into various products such as new cleaning supplies.

Our sister company, CTW Events, organises team-building Impact Experiences, where people can come together and build hygiene kits, which include a Clean the World soap bar and basic hygiene supplies, including dental tablets, a bamboo toothbrush, and a personal note written by the person who put the kit together as a little extra touch to show we all care. These kits are then distributed to communities in need wherever the need arises.

We have supported over 16 million people globally, donated over 84 million bars of soap since starting in 2009, and saved over 10 million kilos of CO2 emissions.

For us here in Europe, the program is growing and so is the general awareness of Clean the World and the incredible impact our hotel partners are making. In America, Clean the World is a very well-known brand, and everyone knows who we are. In Europe, we’re still in that growth stage, where we showcase the program and its enormous benefits to the hospitality industry everywhere we can.

One tip to support? It all starts with an email or a conversation.

This is my one tip. Take the time, have the conversation, find out about your options out there and understand that every small step counts.

All of that is, what I feel, is amazing about Clean the World: from the start, Clean the World has been driven by values to make the world a better place, and has naturally championed circularity, with hotel soap waste turned into new sanitised bars, which are distributed to communities in need, supporting the environment and actual lives.

Making the world a better place by ensuring, zero soap and plastic bottled amenity waste going to landfills. That’s our statement.