WHILE most hotel soap – used once or twice – usually end up in landfills, Sunway Hotels and Resorts has now found a more sustainable way to repurpose them to help communities in need.
The hospitality group kicked off #SunwayForGood #SunwaySoapful project, a soap repurposing project to help selected homes set up a social enterprise programme.
The project is a collaboration with various partners – Ecolab Sdn Bhd, Kinder Soaps Sdn Bhd and the non-profit organisation Selangor Youth Community (SAY).
Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak Yatim Darul Ehsan Malaysia (PKAYDEM) was selected as the first home to receive 1,000 repurposed soap bars from Raja Muda of Selangor Tengku Amir Shah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah who graced the event.
Kinder Soaps Sdn Bhd founder Michelle Ho (left) teaching Shahniza (second from left) and Norfaradyna (second from right) about soap packaging with help from the orphanage’s secretary-general Makhfuzah Mohd Yusoff.
Held at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa in Petaling Jaya, 50 children and young adults from the orphanage, VIPs and guests were present.
Sunway Hotels and Resorts regional senior general manager Kelly Leong explained the project was conceptualised to deliver benefits to the environment and community in alignment with the hospitality group’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Leong said they had started collecting leftover soap in July this year from three hotels in Sunway City.
“We collected 100kg of leftover soap which Kinder Soaps, through a stringent process, was able to produce 1,000 repurposed soap bars, equivalent to 100g each.
“These 1,000 bars will be given to the orphanage for their personal use and also to be sold as part of SAY’s social enterprise programmes,” he said.
Besides utilising the income for their daily needs, the hospitality group hoped the children would use these life skills to start their own businesses and pursue social mobility, or even employ other youths in the future.
“They will be taught a simple five-step soap repurposing process (involving grating, mashing, melting, molding, cutting and packaging), which they can per-form on their own on the un- processed used soap bars provided by us for one year, before we move on to a new beneficiary selected by SAY,” Leong said.
In the coming year, leftover soap would be collected from the hospitality group’s five other hotels in the Klang Valley, Ipoh and Penang.
“We estimate that by the end of next year, we will be able to collect 720kg of leftover soap, equivalent to 7,200 bars of repurposed soap bars to sustain the social enterprise programmes,” he added.
Under the Soapful project, Ecolab will facilitate the collection of used soap bars from the hotels, which are then delivered to Kinder Soaps processing labs to be repurposed.
Kinder Soaps will teach and guide selected homes on the processes of repurposing used soaps.
SAY Royal patron Tengku Amir said PKAYDEM was chosen as the first beneficiary for the project as it is one of the orphanages needing the most help in Selangor.
“To deliver long-term impact, it is important that we teach our children and youth to be independent.
“We will help the children set up a business structure, obtain space to sell the soap, as well as determine pricing and market the products,” Tengku Amir said.
During the event, Ecolab demonstrated proper handwashing procedures, an important step before starting the soap-making process to ensure no bacteria is passed on.
Tengku Amir participated in the process, including in the melting and packaging of the soap.
Shahniza Mohd Shahrin, 10, from the orphanage, said she was proud to be able to participate in the event.
“I was nervous when I and my friend, Norfaradyna Abdullah. were chosen to show the Raja Muda of Selangor how to wrap a soap during the packaging process.
“It was my first time meeting a prince, so I was excited, too,” said Shahniza.
Norfaradyna said she was happy to take part in the event and meet royalty.