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Chinampa floating gardens to testbed edible plants by L’Oréal Singapore and GUILD

It won the Eco-friendly Initiative of the Year - Singapore at the FMCG Asia Awards 2022.

The landmark test-bedding Project Chinampas partnership between L'Oréal Singapore and the GUILD (Ground Up Innovation) creates the first-ever beauty upcycling initiative for floating gardens, innovating on an ancient Mexican farming method called “chinampa” that allows plants to grow in shallow waters, through the upcycling of discarded beauty product containers.

Together with the National Environment Agency (NEA), South West Community Development Council, National University of Singapore (NUS) and SembWaste, the team was provided with a grant under the Zero Waste Testbed Initiative, aimed at supporting youths in the co-creation of innovative solutions towards zero waste and the circular economy.

Two mentors from L’Oréal Dr Richard Betts and Isabelle Lim, and the GUILD NUS team led by Ibnur Rashad, together with Loh Weiliang, Ong Kok Chung and Ashton Law have been developing floating gardens for edible plants such as kangkong using plastic from discarded beauty product containers. The project group hopes to testbed this to contribute towards food security in Singapore whilst working within the constraints of land, as these miniature gardens can be used in water bodies instead of soil. 

The project prototypes are currently at Kampung Kampus, a nature-led, experiential learning campus and home of the non-profit organisation Ground-Up Initiative, and other citizen farms, where the team is running trials and growing different species of plants. Floating Chinampas is also being trialled by students during school workshops at the Singapore Science Centre.

To educate members of the public on the benefits of upcycling, L’Oréal Singapore also organised various virtual and physical workshops together with South-West Community Development Council and GUILD, teaching them how to assemble their own chinampas. 

These workshops were also attended by Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Member of Parliament Patrick Tay, with the project also mentioned by Environment Minister Grace Fu. 

Said Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mayor of South West District Singapore, “This initiative has the potential to change the way residents view and deal with waste. It will transform unwanted plastic and glass from discarded beauty products to create a floating garden of edible plants. What was once used to make people beautiful could be used to make beautiful food instead. South-West CDC is happy to partner with L’Oréal Singapore, NUS, NEA, GUILD, and SembWaste in test-bedding this innovative solution that will give residents a chance to join the upcycling movement, as well as contribute to our sustainability and food security, and also experience the circular economy for themselves.”

The traction that the initiative has gained has been recognised by the FMCG Asia Awards 2022. L’Oréal Singapore and GUILD have been hailed as the recipient of the Eco-friendly Initiative of the Year - Singapore award.

The prestigious awards programme celebrates the most outstanding companies in the Asia Pacific FMCG industry that have shown exemplary performance with their innovative products and initiatives.

The FMCG Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the FMCG industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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