Can accommodation providers save the world? Accor partners with Soap Aid

Accor has announced a new partnership with not-for-profit organisation Soap Aid, taking part in a soap recycling mission to improve hygiene practices in disadvantaged communities and reduce environmental degradation.

accomnews spoke with Adrian Williams, Accor’s vice president of operations for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania about the company’s latest endeavour.

When asked how the Soap Aid initiative will manifest in Accor hotels around the country, Mr Williams maintained that the process would be easy for accommodation providers to take on.

AN 74 wk5 soapAid“The internal process is very simple. We collect the used soaps in a dedicated bucket which provides a great visual representation of the impact as the quantity in the bucket increases. Our employees love seeing the volume grow because they know that they have made an impact with soaps that otherwise would have gone to land fill.”

According to Accor’s global sustainable development program Planet 21, more than 200 Australian hotels have reduced their water consumption by 4.65 per cent and their energy consumption by 3.6 per cent since 2013.

He added: “We were seeking a way to make a difference in a meaningful way. For a number of years our employees have been troubled by the waste involved in bathroom amenities and wanted to create a solution for the environment.

“Our people are always looking to find a way to make a sustainable difference and when we heard of Soap Aid we felt it was a good solution to the problems we were looking to resolve.

While Soap Aid is currently the only soap recycling initiative making the rounds in Australia, it is not the only one in the world. accomnews recently spoke with CEO Shawn Seipler from Clean the World, a Florida-based initiative that also seeks to recycle what soap products would otherwise become environmental waste produced by hospitality sectors.

Although Clean the World does not yet operate in Australia, Mr Seipler noted that expansion into Australasia is likely within the next couple of years. “We will most likely have a receiving centre in Australia and plan to be “live” in Australia by the end of this year or the beginning of 2016.”

An 74 wk5 soap3Clean the World has a similarly easy-to-maintain process for hotels. Mr Seipler told accomnews: “Once a hotel is registered, Clean the World sends them a welcome kit which includes their collection bins, training posters and training DVD, in room tent cards, lobby plaque, and implementation instructions.

“All of the shipping for the program is included and we partner with UPS’ carbon neutral shipping program for our small package and bin shipments. After the bins are at the hotels, and the attendants are trained, it’s very simple. Every day the room attendants clean the room, and collect the used soap and bottled amenities.

“They take the collected product to ‘back of house’ and place the soap into the bins labeled ‘soap’ and the bottles into the bins labeled ‘bottles’. When the bins are 75% filled, the Director of Housekeeping contacts CTW customer service and request a pre-paid shipping label or a pickup. It’s very easy and seamless!”

The soap is recycled, re-processed and distributed by these organisations to communities with the highest rates of childhood mortality from inadequate sanitation levels. The families that receive the soap are also educated about good hygiene practices by aid workers to ensure the soap is put to best use.

Both of these organisations accept donations and you can contact them for more information about taking part in their initiatives at no financial cost.


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