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The Washy Washy song is about to get a new, environmental twist. Carnival Cruise Line Australia has linked up with a charity group to recycle used soap bars so they can help disadvantaged kids fight disease.

A new partnership with Soap Aid aims to collect, sanitise, melt down and reprocess tons of discarded soap bars each year from Carnival Spirit, and eventually Carnival Splendor when she joins the fleet later this year.

The charity sends a million bars of soap all over the world, including Australia. It dispatches 360,000 bars to Western Australia, 23,040 to Northern Territory and regionally 60,000 bars to Fiji and Vanuatu.

Soap Aid founder Mike Matulick said: “The partnership with Carnival is a unique and exciting opportunity for Soap Aid to expand its recycling program into the wider travel and accommodation industry and build on a platform which has already reached over 270,000 people globally. Half of the 1.5 million children that die from preventable diseases in the poorest countries every year could be saved by the use of hand-washing with soap.

“The economic and social impact of this is huge. Just by washing hands it can kill many germs that cause disease, and by doing that, kids can attend more school, their opportunities are enhanced, parents are able to work more so household incomes improve, too.”

Cruise lines encourage passengers to use lots of soap and water to beat ailments like norovirus.

Through the program, Carnival will collect discarded soap from guest and crew staterooms to be refined and sterilised at a Soap Aid processing facility. The soap will then be remoulded and packaged for distribution.

Soap Aid world mapIt’s one of two major conservation initiatives announced by the cruise line and its parent, Carnival Corporation.

Carnival Corp. unveiled plans to significantly eliminate its purchase and consumption of non-essential single-use plastics by the end of 2021 across all nine global cruise line brands.

The initiative is an expansion of what the company calls Operations Oceans Alive.

That involves plans to reduce or eliminate plastic straws, cups, lids and bags, and “potentially eliminate” individual servings of select packaged food items and other single-use plastics or decorative items used in food and beverage service as well as in staterooms, according to a statement by the company.

Some plastic can’t be recycled. Plastic rubbish liners in common areas and sanitary gloves, for instance.

An international soap recovery program involves sending up to 3 million discarded soap bars to a Clean the World recycling centre where they will be turned into new soap bars and distributed to people in need across the globe.

The cruise line estimates 400,000 new clean bars of soap will be created each year.

The program has already been tested on several Carnival ships and will be rolled out across its entire North American fleet by the end of July, the company said.

The new moves come a month after Carnival was fined US$20 million for dumping food and plastic waste into the oceans off the Bahamas and in Alaska.