We live in an era when corporate social responsibility (also known as CSR) is becoming more and more important. Not only do corporations want to run successful companies, they also want to do this in an environmental-friendly manner as possible.
Let’s talk about soap bars… When you’re traveling you’ll find at least one brand new bar in your hotel bathroom and before you’re leaving you mindlessly toss it in the trash, barely used. Sounds familiar? You probably don’t dwell on it, but let’s make a quick calculation. Assuming that, at The Aviary Hotel Siem Reap, every month we check-in roughly two hundred couples or families. At best, they’ll finish a quarter of the soap bar provided in their room. That means that every month 3,75 kilograms of soap go to waste. To put this in perspective, consider this: according to the World Health Organization, a person needs about 120 grams of soap per month for proper hygiene. So, these 3,75 kilos of soap could theoretically supply more than 30 people per month with soap.
When thinking about this, we decided to do something about our soap waste, or better phrased: with our soap waste. In this project, we partnered up with Coco Khmer, a Cambodian based company that finds value in producing products that emphasize simple, healthy and natural living. Together we’re pioneering a soap recycling program, to give our used soap bars a second life. Every month we collect the barely-used soap bars from our guest rooms and send these over to Coco Khmer. At their workshop, the soap bars are sanitized and recycled into liquid soap, which is then returned to the hotel and (re)used by our 50 team members in the hotel’s back-of-house areas.
Recycling soap is a responsible business. Finding a new life for something previously considered waste, is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the community and ultimately good for business.
A little bit more about Coco Khmer: Coco Khmer is the proud maker of high-quality virgin coconut oil and coconut-based products (including soap). Founded in August 2013, Coco Khmer’s mission is to build businesses and sustainable futures for low-income earners in Cambodia’s under-served communities. The soap recycling project is currently in pilot stage, but we believe there’s a future to it, considering the small town of Siem Reap has close to 20,000 hotel rooms!