The little bars of soap left behind by guests at the Red Deer Lodge will be turned into laundry detergent. Entrepreneur Bob Larson estimates Red Deer hotels use 18,000 kilograms of soap bars a year. Most are thrown away after a couple of uses in the sink and shower. In a unique recycling project, Larson will collect the soaps from the Red Deer Lodge and turn them into Buffalo Soap, laundry detergent for sale in B.C. The program was started by Larson’s friend Roger Sevigny in Victoria and Vancouver in 2000. It began last year in Alberta. So far, hotels in Banff, Jasper and Edmonton have signed up. “The hotel industry in Alberta is throwing out 180,000 kilograms of soap a year and we can do something with it,” said Larson, Alberta president of H.I. Landfill Diversion Inc. Recycling is fairly simple. Containers for the soap are attached to the carts wheeled room to room by housekeeping staff. The soap bars are then tossed into recycling bins and picked up by H.I. Landfill Diversion at no cost, said Tracey Stratton, sales and marketing director for Red Deer Lodge. Once the program begins at Red Deer Lodge later this month, other local hotels may get on board, said Stratton. “It will be extremely beneficial to the local environment and to the environment in the big picture.” The soap will be shipped to B.C. until enough Alberta hotels participate to set up a viable production and sales operation here, said Larson, an Edmonton resident who previously owned oilfield businesses. The soap will be dried, ground, sifted and formulated into a detergent suitable for the soft water in Victoria and Vancouver. The detergent will be sold as Buffalo recycled laundry soap at the Vancouver-Island based Thrifty supermarket chain. To sell the product in Alberta, the formula developed by a chemist would need to be changed, said Larson, who sees that day coming. Stratton said hotels are becoming more involved in environmental programs. The Red Deer Lodge is already donating leftover shampoo and conditioner to People’s Place homeless shelter. Larson dropped off recycling bins at Red Deer Lodge Tuesday and the program will begin in a couple of weeks He said soap bars aren’t better or worse for the environment than other trash thrown in the landfill, but the thousands of bars take up space and get wasted.