On the 3rd of November 2023, Soap Aid was proud to officially launch our new soap repurposing plant at Dandenong, thanks to a crucial grant from Sustainability Victoria.
Soap Aid also launched an important new partnership with The Bridge Inc. an amazing social purpose organisation with a mission to provide a wide range of services and support to people with disabilities, as well as people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Soap Aid’s new soap recycling plant is now operating at The Bridge Inc premises, with The Bridge supported employee workers involved in the soap recycling process, including soap sorting, packaging, logistics, and more.
The opening commenced with a moving Welcome to Country ceremony, conducted by Jaeden Williams, man of the Boonwurrung. More than 45 attendees came to celebrate the opening and partnership launch and had the opportunity to learn how used guest soap bars from accommodation providers are turned into new life-saving soap bars. On the day of the event, they were welcomed by Soap Aid founder and director Michael Matulik and The Bridge CEO Mary-Jane Stolp.
Mike Matulick said, “We are thrilled to officially announce our wonderful partnership and venture between Soap Aid and The Bridge Inc. We look forward to furthering our commitment to the environment and broadening our life-saving mission with The Bridge.”
We were excited to have Matt Genever Interim CEO of Sustainability Victoria, officially launch and cut the ribbon of Soap Aid’s new soap repurposing plant!
We were honoured to have Lana Formosa, Mayor of Dandenong Council, in attendance at the event, and share some inspirational words with us.
Soap Aids wonderful community partners came to support us including, Bernadene Voss from Group Big Group Hug, Warren Chaplin from the Woollahra Group. The event also had the honour of being attended by Soap Aid’s accommodation partners including, Julian Crane from the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Anthea Dimitrakopoulos from the Ascott Group, Danielle Schembri from Choice and Mark Geerlings from Crown Melbourne and the wonderful team from Soap Aid’s corporate Sponsor, Hunter Amenities.
The event also featured The Bridge Inc Board Director David Mallinson, General Manager – Employment Services David Kazkoff, Business Manager Wayne Broomhall, and Warehouse Supervisor Ali Mustafa.
Our wonderful Soap Aid team were there including Production Supervisor Charlie Honour, and The Bridge recycling team including Josh Brown, Eugenia, Sethu, Carol Bellew and Laura O’Leary.
The new recycling plant project was made possible due to the Recycling Communities Fund grant from the Victorian Government through Sustainability Victoria, for our “Soaping Our Way to a Circular Economy Project” last year. The funding helped Soap Aid relocate and reinvigorate Soap Aid’s soap repurposing centre at The Bridge Inc premises, and our Circular economy initiative, the Hotel to Hands Guest Soap Recycling Programme, after three challenging years of COVID.
Soap Aid is the only charity and Social Enterprise in Australia and New Zealand who undertakes the recycling of hard soap with Accommodation providers.
A big thanks to Iskhandar Razak, ABC television and Radio, Cam Lucadou-Wells and The Star Newsgroup and Jenny Littlewood, PR and Media Lead from Sustainability Victoria for her amazing support to promote our initiative.
Soap Aid looks forward to an exciting new era of partnership and development!