[Editor's note: below is a guest blog post from Debi Kinney, western regional director for Clean the World, a non-profit organization that collects and recycles soap products for impoverished people around the world.]

Staff from Clean the World, a non-profit organization that collects and recycles soap products for impoverished people around the world.

Las Vegas Sands is no stranger to Clean the World. Two Las Vegas Sands’ hotels—The Venetian and The Palazzo—are the top contributors of used soap and amenities out of all our 1,550+ hotel partners.

Even more commendable, Las Vegas Sands has been proactive in getting others to work with us. This past July, for example, Las Vegas Sands connected Clean the World with IMEX America—a leading worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events.

Clean the World and IMEX have now formed a strategic partnership that has positively impacted numerous individuals, and we have Las Vegas Sands to thank for this.

IMEX America participated in its first-ever corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity with Clean the World. The CSR was sponsored by Las Vegas Sands.

On October 8, 2012, IMEX America participated in its first-ever corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity with us. Sponsored by Las Vegas Sands, the CSR activity featured a full circle education about Clean the World’s mission. 

As western regional director for Clean the World, I introduced the group to the concept of soap and bottled amenity recycling, talked about the history and successes of Clean the World, and explained the various ways to become involved with our organization.

Katarina Tesarova, executive director of global sustainability for Las Vegas Sands, and Lisa Witherell, director of convention operations for the Sands Expo, both spoke about the sustainability initiatives that Las Vegas Sands follows and described how sustainability is a key part of their company’s culture.

Click on image for sharper view. The the three ladies standing in front from left to right: Debi Kinney, western regional director for Clean the World; Lisa Witherell, director of convention operations for the Sands Expo; and Katarina Tesarova, executive director of global sustainability for Las Vegas Sands.

Following the presentations, the attendees took a short tour of Clean the World’s Las Vegas Recycling Operations Center, and then started their hands on projects.

First up was sorting – taking the collections from the thirteen western states that send their used products to Clean the World and separating the used soaps from the used bottled amenities.

Debi Kinney signing in IMEX CSR participants before they rolled up their sleeves and got to work at Clean the World.

DJ Sam Lee was on hand to spin tunes to keep the atmosphere fun and the activity level high.

After sorting for almost an hour, the group took a short break and then jumped right back in to the business of creating hygiene kits. Participants formed an assembly line and filled plastic baggies with recycled soap bars, vanity kits and recycled Las Vegas Sands products including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and shower gel.

After filling each baggie with hygiene products the attendees were asked to include a short note of encouragement for the end recipient, and then the bags were sealed with a Clean the World sticker. 

It was not all work and no play, however, as the group moved and grooved and broke out in short but frequent dance parties to the tunes coming from DJ Sam’s table.

For just shy of 2 hours’ worth of work, the results were outstanding. IMEX attendees sorted through 787 pounds of bar soap. This in turn will generate 4,197 new bars to save lives, and will assist in helping 839 children receive the hygiene necessities they need.

IMEX attendees assembling hygiene kits, which were later donated to the Shade Tree. Very right of the picture: Dale Hudson, knowledge and events director for IMEX Group, who spearheads all the IMEX sustainability efforts.

Even more impressive was their ability to sort through 1,362 pounds of bottled amenities, which came roughly to 14,528 bottles sorted by hand alone. This will assist 969 children in our mission to save lives with soap. 

IMEX attendees built 269 hygiene kits for donation to the Las Vegas Shade Tree women’s shelter.

In order to complete the mission, representatives from IMEX, Las Vegas Sands and Clean the World visited The Shade Tree of Las Vegas on Thursday, October 11 to deliver the 269 hygiene kits.

IMEX attendees sorted through 787 pounds of bar soap. This in turn will generate 4,197 new bars to save lives, and will assist in helping 839 children receive the hygiene necessities they need.

DeAndre Esteen, director of development at The Shade Tree, was kind and grateful for the kits, and her nice words helped us understand how blessed we are and how much of an impact we have on others. 

We are looking forward to partnering with Las Vegas Sands and IMEX for the 2013 IMEX America show – and to making an even bigger impact by building on what was created and learned from this year’s CSR event.