Do you know how much disposable plastic we use each day? There are about one trillion single-use plastic bags used annually across the globe. That's nearly 2 million every minute, and only about 50 percent of the plastic we use, is used once and then thrown away.

Single-use-plastics all too frequently do not make it to a landfill or are recycled [1]. A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. By 2050, this could mean there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans [2] . Choosing to buy products with less packaging or no packaging altogether makes a big difference.

Recently, The Phuket Hotel Association signed the "Phuket Pledge" at the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism Forum 2018 (PHIST), establishing a model for the future development of islands throughout Asia that embraces sustainability as a core and sets urgent goals for long-term change. Plastic is one of the issue that was being raised at the conference.

The Phuket Pledge is a commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling single-use plastic in Phuket with the aim to eradicate it in all hotels and resorts.

"There are 70 PHA member hotels, 61% of whom still use plastic water bottles in their guest rooms and 66% use plastic straws in hotel operations" said Anthony Larks Phuket Hotel Association President and Managing Director of Trisara.

"If we could remove the 61% of the bottles in rooms, this would prevent 10,000,000 single use plastic bottles per year from entering into the waste system and the environment"

Earlier in the year, Thailand's booming industry made a stand with the closure of iconic tourism attractions such as Maya Bay in Phi Phi Island and the closure of Boracay in the Philippines. Both were shut to allow for environmental regeneration.

In Phuket, some actions have been taken to help the battle against plastics; for example at Trisara the gardeners collect plastic bottles that wash up onto the shore and make flower pots from them.

"We then plant a variety of gorgeous ferns in cups and the cups to a 4m high frame to create a gorgeous Christmas Tree of ferns that are grow inside the plastic bottles. To date we have over 400 cups and this tree will be rich and full before December, when we display it prominently to guests in the public area" said Anthony Lark

When asking about how cost affect the green initiative is "My experience in doing this is that we firstly reengineer the whole idea of giving straws in all drinks and don't use them for most drinks unless a guest requests it. This saves costs immediately."

"Frankly speaking the cost of a paper straw does not affect the numbers and if we added 1or 2 baht to the cost of the drink"

"The guests love seeing no plastic and the "feel good" factor and positive comments is worth a couple of baht…"

Hotels in Phuket and around the world are slowly yet surely joining this movement, and straws are just the tip of the iceberg.

"Glass water bottles are replacing plastic all over Phuket at the hotels and we feel that restaurants and even small shops will join this revolution. I can tell you that Trisara built a Reverse Osmosis plant and reusable glass bottles 5 years ago, The cost to build the RO plant was already returned in savings from not buying plastic bottles. "

Also, most of the big hotels up in Mai Khao have switched to "Generation Water", which takes water from the air and remineralizes it before filling in glass bottles, so even the water is free.

"This will be saving them a lot of money and of course it removes literally millions of plastic bottles from our environment." added Anthony.

  1. Single Use Plastics -

  2. Fact Sheet - Single Use Plastics ↩︎