InterContinental Kuala Lumpur is proud to be the first hotel in Kuala Lumpur to recently participate in Soap for Hope™, a soap recycling program pioneered by Sealed Air in Malaysia. On 30 September 2015, the hotel officiated the adoption of the Bt.16 Orang Asli community in Gombak, Selangor together with Sealed Air and volunteers from MOAMI (Making Orang Asli Mothers Independent) by conducting a soap-making workshop.
The effort is part of the hotel’s corporate responsibility initiative to support the program that is aimed at saving lives by giving free soaps to communities that have no or limited access to soaps, providing livelihoods to the local community through soap-recycling, and helping hotels reduce waste and protecting the environment.
The innovative program involved recycling used hotel soaps into fresh soaps for distribution in local communities, spearheaded by the Making Orang Asli Mothers Independent (MOAMI) community. The program focuses on capacity building for the Orang Asli mothers whilst encouraging and empowering them to take up an active role in becoming independent and self-reliant to improve their living standard who will in turn assist to conduct soap recycling workshops in other villages.
Neither water nor electrical power required, Soap for Hope is based on a simple process whereby used soaps are collected from InterContinental Kuala Lumpur hotel and transported to the villages for recycling using an innovative cold-press method with a uniquely customised equipment. In less than 10 minutes, the used soap is recycled into fresh bars of soaps and distributed to impoverished communities. Stefan Phang, Sealed Air’s Regional CSR and Sustainability Director said, “Soap for Hope program engages the local people directly in helping their own community and supports the hotels’ initiative on waste recycling. Through this program, we hope to contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment and create shared value for everyone involved – our company, our customers and the community.”
InterContinental Kuala Lumpur hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Hafidh Al Busaidy who led the team during the visit to the Orang Asli village said that he is honoured to be the first hotel in Kuala Lumpur to embark on this sustainability journey with Sealed Air. With a total of 473 rooms, an estimated 3.5 tons of solid soap may be recycled each year through the partnership, “our hotel offers the highest quality soaps (Agraria San Francisco®) to our guests on a daily basis and this partnership amplifies our commitment to Responsible Business, making every colleague in InterContinental Kuala Lumpur hotel feel good about the part they play in caring for our Earth and the people who inhabit it, in hopes to ensure continuous sustainability improvements,” says Hafidh.
Since the launch a month ago, MOAMI social workers have seen a decrease in childhood respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, attributed to the availability and more frequent use of soaps for handwashing by the children in the village. Soap for Hope has now been launched in 20 cities and 13 countries together with 130 partner hotels. To-date, 228 tons of used soap has been recycled into 1.9 million bars of soap and every year, about 160, 000 people in local communities benefit from this program.