An Atlanta nonprofit group that collects leftover soap from hotels to ship to Africa and other parts of the developing world has purchased a $20,000 processing machine that will allow it to recycle up to 2,000 bars a day.

The Global Soap Project purchased the machine from a Greenville, S.C. company called Cooky’s Soaps & More, said project spokesman Quinn Hudson.

The project is trying to find a warehouse owner who will donate space for the new machine, which sterilizes the soap and shapes it into bars.

Derreck Kayongo, a field coordinator for Atlanta-based relief agency, CARE, and his wife, Sara, launched the soap project last year to collect slightly used soap that hotel cleaning crews routinely toss in the trash. The donated soap is reprocessed for use in Africa and other places. The Kayongos are originally from Uganda.

Atlanta hotels responded immediately, donating tons of soap that is now accumulating in an Alpharetta warehouse.

As the project gained national and international attention, soap donations and requests for soap have multiplied.

In November, the Seaport Hotel in Boston shipped a ton of donated soap to Atlanta. The soap project has now 17 tons of soa donated by more than 160 hotels.

Using a much smaller machine than the newly purchased one, the soap project has shipped reprocessed soap to Swaziland, Haiti and Uganda.

The original plan was to ship the soap in bulk to Africa where it would be reprocessed and distributed. For now, the Soap Project is reprocessing soap in Atlanta and shipping it overseas. 

The new machine, purchased with donations and loans from the organization’s board members, will allow soap to be processed more quickly and in larger volumes.

While it has upgraded its machinery, the project is still raising funds to pay for shipping the processed soap abroad and other costs, said Mr. Hudson.

To learn more about the Soap Project, click here