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Soapbox: Soap Cycling Singapore

"Is recycled soap even clean?"

Absolutely. Made up of lipids, soap has the ability to self-clean. With just a little scrub and rinse on the outer layer of the soap bar, the recycled soap is then able to employ its intended function of cleaning.

Every year, over one million bars of soap are thrown away by hotels in Singapore. That’s thousands of pounds of chemical waste generated every year. Can we turn such waste into a purposeful cause? Yes, and that’s what Soap Cycling Singapore is here for.

A nonprofit social enterprise, Soap Cycling Singapore aims to improve the sanitation and hygiene situation in underprivileged regions in Asia through a soap recycling movement – making use of unwanted soap bars and reprocessing them for usage by other communities. Not only does this help reduce the risk of pneumonia and diarrhea – diseases highly prevalent in third-world countries where access to proper hygiene and sanitation products are limited or scarce, but also contribute to a greener community.

Through long-term partnerships with various hospitality partners, Soap Cycling Singapore collects lightly used bar soaps from hotel partners when their clients check out of their rooms. Thereafter, we tap onto our volunteer base to reprocess these soaps for proper usage. These recycled soaps are then redistributed to the communities that need them through partnerships with WASH charities across Asia, overseas community involvement projects (OCIPs), and NGOs that serve the marginalised communities. 

Soap Cycling started out as a student-led nonprofit in Hong Kong and expanded to Singapore in 2016. Today, majority of Soap Cycling Singapore’s operations are actively managed by local undergraduates through internships, providing hands-on experiences and opportunities for students to gain insights on corporate social responsibility, the inner workings of a social enterprise as well as contribute back to the society. Soap Cycling Singapore also partners with SGcare – where migrant workers recuperating from work injuries volunteer their time to help us with the soap reprocessing.

Something we often take for granted, soap is anything but a luxury for the millions of other people who cannot afford it or even get access to it. Whether you’re a hospitality partner, a corporate organisation, a school, an overseas community involvement project (OCIP) group or just an individual passionate about supporting the causes we stand for, you can contribute and make a difference! To find out more, email us at: [email protected]


Written by: Chua Jiin-Linn, Intern, Soap Cycling Singapore

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