Hotel recycles leftover soap for the needy

Ms Daphne Seet, 35, a conference and banqueting team leader at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, separating food waste from general waste at the banquet kitchen.
Ms Daphne Seet, 35, a conference and banqueting team leader at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, separating food waste from general waste at the banquet kitchen.PHOTO: EDWARD TEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

After guests check out, the chambermaids of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport swing into action. Their target: leftover soap bars.

Instead of discarding them, the hotel soaks them in bleach to get rid of bacteria and germs, before adding scented oils to make them new again.

These recycled soap are then distributed to disadvantaged people in the region. It may sound disgusting to some, but waste is strictly managed in this hotel, which reprocesses more than 600kg of soap each year with its suppliers.

For this and more, the hotel was one of the 25 recipients recognised yesterday for its waste reduction efforts.

Along with Mandarin Oriental Singapore, it won the highest accolade for its recycling and waste management practices under the inaugural biennial 3R Award for Hotels.

Led by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Hotels Association, the award recognises efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

"With the growing awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship, travellers will increasingly support sound environmental practices when making travel accommodation choices," said NEA chief executive officer Ronnie Tay.

Recipients of merit awards and certificates of participation include Pan Pacific Singapore and M Hotel Singapore.

Such accolades are in tandem with a push for the industry to go green.

From next year, hotels and shopping malls will need to report waste and recycling data to the NEA. Under this compulsory exercise, hotels with more than 200 rooms and malls with net lettable areas of over 50,000 sq ft must state the weight of waste discarded and the proportion channelled for reuse and recycling.

Such requirements come amid rising waste here. Last year, some 7.85 million tonnes were generated, up from 7.27 million tonnes in 2012 and 6.9 million tonnes in 2011.

"(The award) is a little recognition that all these efforts are bearing fruit," said Crowne Plaza Changi Airport's director of food and beverage, Ms Belinda Quek.

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg