Last week we watched an eye-opening short film about plastic pollution by Bouteco, a social enterprise that celebrates travel brands making positive changes to their surrounding communities and environments, and who have been championing the anti-plastic movement for a long time now. Whilst it’s brilliant to see increased awareness of these issues in recent years – particularly thanks to our national hero David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II and the implementation of the plastic bag tax – we need to change our own habitual behaviours that are contributing to plastic pollution. Bouteco’s video, Call for Change, encapsulates this perfectly. There are plenty of worrying facts and thought-provoking quotes we could pull out, but we wouldn’t be doing the video justice. You can watch it below:
Here at BIRD, we’re proud to work with some inspiring people and organisations that work tirelessly to reduce their single-use plastic consumption, and it’s great to see some of them on the Bouteco website. Here are some of their stories…
Taking responsibility for an entire island is never going to be a simple task, but the team at Gili Lankanfushi – the Maldives’ ultimate barefoot luxury eco-resort – are determined to minimise the island’s environmental footprint. The island is a no plastics zone, and on-island glass, plastic and aluminum are all recycled through a partnership with Parley, with waste transformed into useful items such as t-shirts and shoes. Guests are encouraged to leave their plastics behind before coming to the island, and they are gifted a linen bag to put any plastic items that might have snuck their way in, which can be taken away or recycled.
You won’t see any single-use plastics at new hotel SALT of Palmar in Mauritius. On arrival, guests are given a reusable water bottle. In the kitchen, storage containers replace plastic wrapping. In the bathroom, refillable pump dispensers are used for all the natural paraben-free locally made bathroom products. Grooming and cosmetic extras are 100% organic and earbuds, combs and toothbrushes are fashioned from sustainably farmed bamboo. Straws, one of the major culprits of plastic pollution, are made from bioplastics, a biodegradable alternative made from organic materials such as corn starch. By spreading the message about plastic pollution, the SALT team have even managed to change the habits of their local suppliers. The laundry service has stopped shrink-wrapping and do their pick-ups and deliveries in linen bags supplied by SALT.
The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their unparalleled ecological riches, fearless wildlife and spectacular encounters. It could have been a very different tale, however. Metropolitan Touring was one of the first companies to recognise the tourism potential of the remote archipelago – and the need to protect it – back in the 1960’s. By the 90s, the team were sweeping stretches of Galapagos coastline to collect plastic waste and in 1997 they put together the only Galapagos Foundation dedicated to waste, hiring local fishing boats to go to designated areas of the National Park so volunteers could collect tons of plastic. Waste was brought to their facilities; its origin was analyzed and then it was shipped to the mainland to be recycled. Today, Metropolitan Touring are fully committed to making the Galapagos a plastic-free zone: the only water-bottles you can find on their ships are stainless steel and recyclable, there is biodegradable soap in their showers and cloth bags in their boutiques, and they have started a campaign to encourage local families to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Sri Lanka is a pretty simple place. Blaring sun, golden sands, rolling surf – you know the drill. With all the beautiful temples, rich history, delicious food and fragrant tea, it’s almost easy to forget the island’s incredible natural landscapes and biodiversity. Rare birds soar over green mountains and lush paddies, leopards slink through the undergrowth and elephants splash in the rivers. Plastic pollution could change all this. That’s why Resplendent Ceylon, a collection of boutique hotels across Sri Lanka, have taken it in their stride to transform Sri Lanka’s responses to plastic. Find glass water-bottles in your room, filled with desalinated, filtered water that comes entirely from the sea. There are bespoke Resplendent Ceylon stainless-steel water-bottles in the pipeline, set to release in 2019. If you fancy a straw, choose to drink from a metal one. Bathroom amenities are provided in chic handcrafted ceramic refillable containers that add style and authenticity. To take it a step further, guests at Wild Coast Tented Lodge, situated along a pristine beach on the fringes of Yala National Park, can roll up their sleeves to help rid nearby beaches of plastic pollution.