Growing Green and Fighting COVID-19 with Soap Cycling in Asia

Growing Green and Fighting COVID-19 with Soap Cycling in Asia

Soap Cycling Singapore is an NGO that works with students, hotels, businesses, volunteers, and charities across Asia to recycle soap. In a movement to improve sanitation and hygiene, the organization collects, cleans, and renews gently used soaps that are about to be thrown out. Its efforts help support recycling and greener living, as well as waste reduction by distributing soap to regions without it and that need it most.

Soap Cycling was founded in 2012 by David Bishop, a law professor at The University of Hong Kong, and a group of his students. In 2017, operations started in Singapore, pioneered by students from the National University of Singapore.

We had the opportunity to connect with Jacqueline (Jackie) Tan, Soap Cycling Singapore’s partnerships manager, to discuss the organization’s journey and mission. She explained the recycling process that the organization follows, from initial collection to final distribution. 

The process starts with the collection of lightly-used soap from local hotels in Singapore. “At the moment, we are saving 510kg of lightly used soap from the incinerator,” she explains.

Next, the soap is sent to Soap Cycling warehouses, which rely on partnerships. As in any other company, growth happens in small steps; after years of storing soap under their beds, one of their local partners has offered a modest storage place and activity spaces for volunteering sessions. “We experience an amicable collaboration here. This local charity is serving the migrant workers community in Singapore. Injured workers cannot work, so we compensate them by giving them tasks they can perform and covering their transport, leases and food costs” explains Jackie. 

The soap is then sorted, recycled, and distributed to the needy with the help of NGO partners. In 2019, they distributed over 300kg (7,500 soap bars) in Singapore and the nearby region. Besides their local distribution, they also sent out soap to Indonesia and The Philippines. 

To face down the COVID-19 crisis, Soap Cycling is joining forces with charity partners to distribute soap to vulnerable populations. “Our partners have already hand sanitizer and masks, so we are putting together a care package that we distribute. So far, we have distributed this care package to 1,800 workers in the past 2 weeks,” Jackie adds. 

When asked about where she sees Soap Cycling moving in the next 5 years, Jackie explained that the organization wants to keep supporting the Singaporean and migrant worker communities and expand rapidly so that it can provide soap to disadvantaged communities throughout Southeast Asia. Moreover, she sees the future of the organization including liquid soap collection and recycling. 

Eurofragance has contributed immensely to Soap Cycling Singapore’s recent development, and that’s just the start. We are going to continue to support this organization so that more projects can be undertaken and developed, and even more people can be helped.