Used soap bars create millions of pounds of waste in landfills each year. When you add to this pile by discarding your own leftover soap slivers, you’re not only increasing the amount of waste and pollution in the world, you’re also throwing your own money away.
What can you do with pieces of soap that are too small to use? More than you would think! Leftover soap slivers can be used to make liquid soap, new soap bars for your own use, or even soap bars for people in developing countries.
How to make liquid soap out of used soap bars
1. Let slivers of soap bars that are too small to use dry completely (to discourage growth of mold or mildew). Keep all your slivers of soap in a plastic zip-top bag or a Tupperware container and seal them. Continue collecting soap slivers in your bag or container until you have at least a half dozen slivers.
2. When you have enough soap slivers, put them in a blender. Add just a tiny bit of water. Then blend the soap on a medium setting for about 20 seconds.
3. Add more water a little at a time as needed to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. Blend the mixture for about 20 seconds after each added dose of water. Only add water in small amounts to avoid diluting the soap too much. Blend thoroughly.
4. When the soap is of a good consistency, empty it into a plastic squeeze or pump bottle (such as a leftover empty bottle from a store-bought brand). Now you have your very own bottle of free hand soap!
How to make new soap bars out of used soap bars
1. Just as you would with making liquid soap out of used soap slivers, you’ll want to gather up all your completely-dry soap slivers in a plastic zip-top bag or a Tupperware container.
2. Once you have a good number of soap slivers, dump them onto a cutting board, mincing them into very small pieces with a chef's knife. Transfer the minced pieces to a Pyrex container and add just enough water to coat the bottom of the container.
3. Cover the container with plastic wrap, and microwave it in 15-second intervals. In between the intervals, stir the mixture with the butter knife until the water is very hot and the soap has formed a paste.
4. Pour and scoop the soap paste into a muffin tin, soap/cookie molds, or cupcake wrappers. Once the molds cool, you have yourself some free new soap bars!
Donating your used soap bars to help sanitation needs in developing countries
Are you up for a noble cause? Why not donate your used soap bars to needy people here and abroad?
Clean the World, a nonprofit charity based in Orlando, Florida, can take your used soap and turn it into safe, sterilized new soap at its Recycling Operations Center, to be shipped to domestic homeless shelters and impoverished countries around the world.
Families, students, corporations, churches, and civic groups can get involved by participating in a community soap drive. It is simple, inexpensive and helps saves thousands of lives.
Get a soap drive started by registering at www.cleantheworld.org.
suggests a 7-14 day collection program. They also encourage groups to:
Gather friends and family members to help support the collection efforts.
· Set up teams to see who can collect the most soap and to make it fun and challenging
· Set up a high-traffic collection area and give periodic updates on the amount of soap collected to encourage more contributions.
- Alert the media, create awareness for collection efforts, and contact local news organizations to help spread the word.
After you have collected all your soap, Box it, weigh it, and include this product donation form with your shipment. Clean the World does not pay for your shipping costs but notes that encouraging others to help cover these costs can be part of a successful soap drive.
Phillip Wu is a member of the SCA Trail Town Outreach Corps, an organization focusing on sustainable economic development in the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage supported by the Trail Town Program and the Student Conservation Association. Contact 724-603-3151.