Nonprofit can make 4 million bars of soap a year at NLV plant

A nonprofit group that distributes soap to poverty-stricken countries is opening a manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas.

Global Soap Project, based in Atlanta, is leasing 7,000 square feet at 3917 E. Lone Mountain Road, near Craig Road and Lamb Boulevard, the group said today.

The facility, which opened Thursday, is twice the size of the group’s original plant in Atlanta and will let the organization more easily process used-soap donations from hotels in Las Vegas and elsewhere, the nonprofit said.

Global Soap processes used soap into large bars and distributes them to about 30 countries, mostly in Africa but also in Central Asia and the Americas.

Countries served include Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan, as well as Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala and Bolivia.

The North Las Vegas facility, which will need 6,000 volunteers a year to help with sorting and packaging, will be able to produce 4 million bars of soap annually. That will save more than 1 million pounds of soap from being thrown in the trash, Global Soap said.

To make its soap, the group clears off debris from used bars, mixes them with water, filters out particulates, molds new bars and tests a sample from each batch in laboratories. The bars are then cut, visually inspected and packaged into boxes for shipment.

According to Global Soap, 1.4 million deaths can be prevented each year by hand-washing with soap, and children under 5 who wash with soap can reduce their risk of pneumonia by 46 percent.