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Luxury hotels reducing plastic waste

Environmentally aware hotels
Written by
Emma Schofield

Thanks to David Attenborough and documentaries such as A Plastic Ocean, awareness of the environment and the disastrous effect human consumption is having on it is at an all time high. Articles specifically highlighting our plastic usage, and the adverse effect it is having on our oceans and their inhabitants, are regularly in the news. It is estimated that 480 billion plastic bottles were sold in 2016 - that’s over one million bottles a minute. Even more worryingly, 8 million tonnes of plastic currently ends up in the oceans each year. These oceans sustain life in many of the destinations we offer, yet the indestructible debris is causing harm to many marine animals and communities dependent on fishing.

As a company, we are trying to improve and reduce our own carbon footprint and take care of our planet as much as possible. We also love to work with hotels and lodges that are environmentally aware or sustainable. These are the luxury hotels that have great initiatives set up to help reduce plastic waste where possible and to encourage guests to be more considerate travellers.

Sailing Boat, Song Saa Private Island Resort, Cambodia

Song Saa, Cambodia

Not only making waves for their approach to conservation and sustainable luxury overall, but the stunning private island of Song Saa is also ahead of the game in terms of effectively utilising and eliminating plastic. When they stumbled upon this now pristine island, owners Melita and Rory set to clearing the area from debris and harmful plastics, eventually revealing its beauty underneath. 


They chartered boats to come and collect the mountains of discarded rubbish before they began to build a luxe eco haven. The beautifully decorated suites are made from reclaimed wood and other recycled materials from around the country, and non-recyclable materials, including plastic, are banned from the island.

Soneva, Maldives and Thailand

Arguably an innovator in the plastic-free movement, all Soneva resorts exclude plastics. It banned the use of plastic water bottles way back in 2008 and encourages guests to take their plastic waste home with them. They are also one of the founders of Whole World Water – an initiative to encourage businesses across the travel and hospitality industry to implement reusable glass bottles instead of single-use plastic ones. As a result, over 1.2 million plastic bottles have been saved from use.


Additionally, guests at the Soneva Fushi resort in the idyllic Maldives can now partake in activities to turn waste plastic into souvenirs or toys for local communities. Learn more about their initiatives here: https://preciousplastic.com/

Six Senses, worldwide

This innovative hotel group have developed an initiative called Earth Lab which helps to educate guests and raise awareness about their sustainability efforts. Further cementing their position as a responsible company, they have also adopted a philosophy of Zero Waste. All materials must have a new purpose ensuring there is no waste, and Earth Lab embraces this concept by upcycling materials into new products.



Sunrise breakfast, Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand

Water is now bottled on site, completely eliminating the requirement of plastic bottles and transportation. Over 600,000 plastic water bottles were avoided throughout Six Senses properties in 2017 alone. They also offer alternatives to plastic straws at each resort, with the option to choose from paper, bamboo, and lemongrass.

Pool at Six Senses, Douro Valley, Portugal

Best of the rest

Jack's Camp, Botswana

In Botswana’s endless Makgadikgadi Pans, pollution is noticeable so it’s imperative to keep the camps as clean as possible. The luxurious Jack’s Camp is as plastic free as possible. Instead of water bottles, old glass gin bottles are used for game drives and there are no traces of straws anywhere.

Interior, Jack's Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Grootbos Private Reserve, South Africa

The stunning private reserve in South Africa’s Western Cape does not shy away from sustainable and conservation challenges. This is another lodge that has completely eliminated plastics, one example being that they provide guests with metal bottles. In order to further reduce waste, the bottles are sterilised and re-used, rather than given away as gifts.

Alila Hotels, worldwide

Alila get a gold star from us for their initiatives! Alila Ubud in Bali have built a water purification system, designed by Eco Pure Waters, which enables them to produce their own bottled water. The water is collected and decanted into glass bottles, which are washed in a biodegradable chemical and then reused. Eco all the way!


Want to stay at a hotel working to reduce their plastic consumption? Speak to our expert travel designers to start planning your perfect trip...

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