Partially used and discarded soaps from the UAE hotels will now be hygienically recycled into new bars and redistributed to the underprivileged, in an effort to promote sanitation and help the needy.
To combat hotel waste, Goumbook which is a social enterprise dedicated to promoting sustainable living has launched a new campaign Unisoap UAE, after collaborating with France-based non-profit company Unisoap (parent company).
This effort will allow circularity to hotel soap bars, reducing waste, supporting hygiene in vulnerable communities and increasing employability in the waste sector.
Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Managing Director and Founder of Goumbook, says, “In terms of waste, the first message we always convey is reduction. Another important thing is to look at waste as a resource, to be able to convert it into something valuable. We’ve done this with other campaigns as well, like how we convert a cigarette box into construction material. In this case, we understand Dubai is a tourist destination, and has hundreds of hotels. They consume a lot of amenities and one of them is soap. We have millions of soaps that go to landfills on a yearly basis worldwide.”
It is also explained that the soaps that are collected from one hotel will be kept together to keep their fragrances and their properties intact, after which it’ll be melted and formed into a new soap.
“This new soap will be distributed locally to communities in need. Apart from distributing these in labour camps, it can also be sold to families at a subsidized cost and sent to different charities. We also want to partner with humanitarian organisations to send soaps to refugee camps. One of our main goals is to also raise awareness about the importance of washing your hands. Around the world we have millions of people dying, because of the lack of knowledge on basic sanitation. So, this will hopefully have a social impact and raise awareness about the importance of hygiene.”
“We’ve had some people/hotels signing the letter of intent. We’ve already got some soap from one hotel, and it is being transformed. We’ll have the first soap ready next month,” she adds.
With the operating unit, located in Dubai Silicon Oasis, in the first year, a minimum of 10 hotels will become a part of this initiative, each with an average of 500 rooms.
“This is incredible because Unisoap in France usually deals with smaller hotels with 50 rooms. The interesting part is that the volumes are totally different from Europe. Here the operation is massive, and the hotels are really big. So, for each hotel, it’s a lot of rooms,” she adds.
The initiative also aligns with DET’s 19 Sustainability Requirements for hotels, focused on promoting green practices throughout the hospitality industry.
Meanwhile, senior officials from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) hailed the efforts of local companies to develop the UAE as a sustainable travel destination.
Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance sector, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism said, “Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is pleased to have supported Goumbook for a successful, thought-provoking Think Tank, which focused on responsible and sustainable tourism. DET is committed to ensuring sustainability in the tourism sector by working with communities and engaging residents in protecting the environment, partnering with hotels to promote sustainable practices, highlighting Dubai’s natural beauty and biodiversity, and creating more opportunities for people to use public transportation.”
Source: Nandini Sircar, Khaleej Times