Some 21 Shangri-La hotels in South-east Asia and Sri Lanka are donating 12,500kg of used, clean bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases to local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and volunteer groups to be repurposed into reusable face masks for vulnerable members of society.
Done in partnership with global hygiene and cleaning company, Diversey, the hotel company’s initiative also presents employment opportunities for members in low socio-economic community groups in cities such as Yangon, Manila, Johor Bahru, Colombo, Surabaya, Jakarta and Bangkok.
In Singapore, the group’s four hotels are looking to contribute up to 80,000 reusable face masks for communities in need during this period, with volunteer groups such as Dirtylinen and Keeping Hope Alive distributing the masks to the elderly often living alone in rental flats. The masks will also be distributed to teachers and students in need at NGO Intercultural Theatre Institute.
The upcycling of clean, used linen into face masks also provides Shangri-La a meaningful way to help reduce environmental wastage.
Citing an independent study by Metabolic in The Netherlands on the life cycle analysis of cotton and poly-cotton linen and cotton towels used in top hotel chains, Shangri-La noted in a press statement that the production of 500,000 fabric face masks using new linen would have incurred 60 million litres of water – the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools – and a carbon footprint of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 63,000 litres of petrol being combusted.
Chan Kong Leong, regional CEO for Shangri-La Group in Southeast Asia & Australasia, said: “At Shangri-La, we have dedicated our last 50 years to caring for our guests, colleagues and local communities. Just as we have elevated our cleaning and safety protocols in our hotels as part of our Shangri-La Cares commitment to our guests and colleagues, we are heartened to be able to continue helping and caring for the communities around us throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Linens For Life Face Masks programme provides clear health, social and environmental benefits for communities during these challenging times.”
Shangri-La’s partnership with Diversey on the Linens For Life Face Masks programme builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two entities globally, which has seen 427 tonnes of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years.