Soap Aid’s ‘Hotel to Hands’ Program is revolutionising hygiene and sustainability

Stepping into the realm of accommodation waste management and recycling, the Soap Aid charity is a game-changing initiative that is reshaping sustainability through the disposal of used hard guest soap, while making a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable people.

Founded in 2011 in Melbourne, Soap Aid is a unique charity with a dual mission: to save children’s lives while diverting hard soap waste from landfills, thereby contributing to environmental conservation.
Soap Aid’s model is a true example of the circular economy in action. Called the “Hotel to Hands” program (H2H), accommodation providers of all types across Australia and New Zealand – hotels, motels, apartment complexes, guest houses, caravan parks and employee accommodation facilities, partner with Soap Aid to collect, sort, clean and reprocess their waste guest soap, through a rigorous process, into fresh, hygienic soap bars for distribution to vulnerable communities.

To expand their positive impact on the local community, Soap Aid recently joined forces with the social enterprise, The Bridge Inc. The Bridge Inc provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities
and young individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. These individuals are now actively involved in the soap recycling process, including soap sorting, packaging, logistics, nd more at Soap Aid’s repurposing plant in Dandenong, Victoria. All soap recycled at the repurposing plant is given free of charge to communities across Victoria and other states in Australia, as well as to communities in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Hygiene education programs accompany the soap to encouraging behavior change, handwashing with soap, and promote better hygiene.

According to WHO, hygiene-related diseases can be reduced by over 40 per cent by using a bar of soap to wash hands. The new recycled soap bars are as clean and safe to use as a new bar of soap from a supermarket shelf.
Over the past few years, Soap Aid has recycled over three million bars through
the Soap Aid Hotel to Hands Program with over one million bars of soap distributed
to indigenous communities in Australia, preventing thousands of children from contracting diseases such as trachoma and pneumonia. For these incredible efforts, in 2023, Soap Aid received recognition and won the Community Category Award at the Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria’s Tidy Towns and Cities – Sustainability Awards. Additionally, Soap Aid was a finalist for the Healthy and Fair Society – Industry Leader Award in last year’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards and received a Community Achievement Awards Victoria Certificate of Achievement for the 2023 Australia Charitable Foundation Mental Health and Wellbeing Category.

With more than 270 accommodation providers involved across Australia and New Zealand, Soap Aid continues its remarkable environmental and humanitarian impact. The H2H Program presents a unique opportunity for accommodation providers to showcase concrete positive impacts throughout their networks. By recycling the hard soap bars through Soap Aid, they can demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR), provide their employees with the satisfaction of contributing to a worthy humanitarian cause, enhance the overall job satisfaction of their teams and showcase to their guests the impact of their involvement in this unique mission.

Accommodation providers can be sure that they are supporting an organisation that also creates employment opportunities for the Melbourne community, while preventing child mortality and diseases and waste in landfills and its tax deductible! (Soap Aid is a registered DGR! Charity with the ATO).

Switching to hard soap bars will reduce the use and disposal of plastic waste and help to preserve the environment
Despite our extraordinary achievements with soap recycling, numerous accommodation providers are missing out on this impactful opportunity by opting for liquid soap in dispensers. Soap Aid is transforming institutional practices by championing the use of hard soap bars – the most sustainable option for accommodation rooms, as they are 100% recyclable – kilogram for kilogram!
By choosing hard soap bars, accommodation providers will create and use less plastic packaging. Liquid soap packaging in plastic bottles, with plastic pumps and dispensers, or in minis, keep contributing to our overflowing landfill problems. Even if these bottles are refillable and can be recycled, the overall negative impact on plastic waste cycles remains significant. By using hard soap, accommodation providers can reduce their use of plastic by approximately 25 per cent! (based on four amenities in the bathroom).

Hard soap bars require 20 per cent less water and less energy for production, packaging, transportation, and wastewater breakdown, consequently emitting less CO2. Studies have also shown that people tend to use challenges in collection, storage, and transportation for recycling. In contrast, hard soap bars are not only easier to produce, transport and recycle, but also involve a less complex recycling process. Through Soap Aid, they will have another life – circularity at its best!


Soap Aid’s Hotel to Hands program has made a substantial impact so far, having saved an estimated 300 tons of soap from landfill, and more than 110,000 children’s lives and there is much more to come!

Soap Aid is actively seeking new accommodation partners in Australia and New Zealand and new impact partners throughout the world, so that we can keep delivering desperately needed soap to disadvantaged communities.

Please contact Carol Bellew and Laura O’Leary at for further information about becoming a Soap Aid partner.