Thousands of children die every day from preventable hygiene-related illness but a bar of soap can change that.
According to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, hand washing can reduce the risk of diarrheal infection by nearly 50 percent. However, some places lack the resources that are necessary to live a healthy life.
In 2008, Shawn Seipler, chief executive officer of Clean the World, was on a business trip when the idea for Clean the World emerged. He asked the hotel staff at the property he was staying at what they did with the used soap. After learning that the hotel threw away used soap, he realized there was a better solution.
Seipler said Clean the World started with about five family members carving soap with potato peelers in a garage. The small team would grind the soap in a meat grinder, cook it, then place it on wax paper to dry on racks.
“We had fans blowing on the soap and every 30 minutes we would blow a circuit,” Seipler said as he remembered how Clean the World started.
Clean the World has come a long way since its days making soap in a garage. Now, there are locations around the world including a few in the United States, Canada, Amsterdam, and China.
“When we started we didn’t have a business model, very quickly we thought we were going to drown,” said Seipler. “In the first year, we figured out our business model and charged hotels a fee.”
Ten years later and Clean the World has about 8,000 hotels participating in the program, including Caesars Entertainment.
“We need friends like Caesars Entertainment to get behind us and support what we are doing today,” Seipler said.
The relationship between Clean the World and Caesars Entertainment began in 2010. Caesars Foundation helped fund the first Recycling Operations Center in Las Vegas.
“Caesars Foundation was focused on bringing jobs and helping the economy in Southern Nevada. We needed help to build a recycling center that would create jobs and Caesars Foundation stepped up to help,” Seipler said.
Within eight years, Caesars Entertainment and Caesars Foundation gifted $3.2 million to Clean the World in financial contributions, pounds of soap and volunteer hours. Caesars properties in North America distributed more than 2.5 million bars of soap that were sanitized, reformulated and distributed to 127 countries.
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Seipler said the death rate from hygiene-related illnesses has decreased by 60 percent since Clean the World started.
“The 2.5 million bars of soap donated by Caesars Entertainment have saved lives,” said Seipler.
Every year, Caesars Entertainment team members take a distribution trip with Clean the World and others to take soap to developing countries. During the trip, soap is distributed, and the team teaches children and adults the importance of hygiene, including handwashing.
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Clean the World has big dreams for the future of the organization.
Seipler said the organization has developed new products including hygiene kits and disaster relief buckets, but he has plans to do more. He said in the past few years Clean the World has partnered with Caesars Entertainment to send more than 11,000 hygiene kits to areas affected by wildfires. Caesars Entertainment partners with meetings and conventions guests to create the hygiene kits.
“In the next five years, I think we will be feeding the hungry, working on water preservation, and teaching the youth about the power of social entrepreneurship,” said Seipler.
“We are very fortunate to have leaders like Christian Stuart and Gwen Migita, of Caesars Entertainment, to help us out,” Seipler said. “We couldn’t do this without the support of Caesars Entertainment, so we just really want to say, ‘thank you.’”