Shangri-La Partners with Diversey to Upcycle Hotel Linen Into Half-a-Million Reusable Face Masks

Vulnerable members in communities across 12 cities in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka will soon have greater access to reusable face masks with the regional Linens For Life Face Masks (L4LFM) partnership between Shangri-La Group and Diversey, a leading global hygiene solutions provider.

As part of the L4LFM program, the 12,500 kilograms of used linen donated by 21 Shangri-La hotels will be repurposed into reusable fabric face masks by local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Colombo, Hambantota, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Surabaya, Jakarta, Cebu, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok and Yangon. In some cities such as Yangon, Manila, Johor Bahru, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bangkok, the upcycling of masks will also generate employment opportunities for members in low socioeconomic community groups.

The half-a-million face masks will be distributed to local communities in need, providing vulnerable members of society with a basic piece of protection that is now mandatory in many countries in the global fight against COVID-19.

The upcycling of clean, used linen into face masks also provides Shangri-La a meaningful way to help reduce environmental wastage. If new linen was produced to manufacture this quantity of fabric masks, it would have incurred 60 million liters of water (the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools) and a carbon footprint of 150 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 63,000 liters of petrol being combusted.

“At Shangri-La, we have dedicated our last 50 years to caring for our guests, colleagues and local communities,” said Chan Kong Leong, regional CEO for Shangri-La Group in Southeast Asia and Australasia. “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 program provides clear health, social and environmental benefits for communities during these challenging times. Not only does it give our used hotel linen a new lease of life, it also provides the most vulnerable with a basic piece of protection and helps sustain livelihoods.”

In Bangkok, Thailand, the Group and Diversey have teamed up with Cedar Learning Centre where local community members will upcycle the clean but used bedsheets, duvet covers and pillowcases into face masks and distribute them to refugees and asylum seekers in the city. Volunteers at WHY Loving Care in Penang will create and distribute the masks to vulnerable children in local schools and orphanages, while in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with the help of the Kechara Soup Kitchen, disadvantaged women will receive an additional source of income from the sewing of face masks which will be distributed among poor families and the homeless.

“One of Diversey’s global priorities is to support local communities, particularly during COVID-19,” said Brijesh Rathore, vice president of global strategic accounts for Diversey Asia-Pacific. “The Linens for Life Face Masks Programme is a great example of how Diversey, together with our customer hotels and partner NGOs, are providing simple hygiene items to those who really need them and helping to prevent the spread of infection.”

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shangri-La Hotels across the region have continuously sought out opportunities to help their local communities and to uplift spirits – from donating essential items such as groceries to local communities across Southeast Asia and Australasia, to preparing fresh meals and donating personal protection equipment to courageous frontline workers.

With hygiene and safety being top-of-mind for many, the Shangri-La Group has recently introduced its “Shangri-La Cares” commitment, reinforcing the Group’s efforts to caring for people as we begin welcoming guests back to our hotels and resorts. As part of its ongoing efforts to create a trusted and nurturing environment for guests, the Group has partnered Diversey to implement a series of safety standards and precautionary measures across its hotels.

Shangri-La’s partnership with Diversey on the L4LFM programme builds on the successful Soap For Hope collaboration between the two entities globally, which has seen 427 tons of hotel soap slivers recycled into 3.5 million new soap bars for at-risk communities over the past three years.