6 March 2020: SEA circular is launching an initiative to support the hotel industry and the hospitality sector in Thailand to reduce plastic waste.
Tourism, and the related hospitality sector, is a major contributor to plastic waste in Thailand. The country welcomed 38.1 million tourists in 2018, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Tourism Intelligence Centre, impacting the environment and producing a colossal volume of waste.
With a tourism industry worth upwards of 12 trillion Thai baht, and more than 10,000 hotels in the country, this sector is arguably one of the most damaging in terms of plastic waste generation in Thailand.
Plastics are widely used in hotels to support travellers’ requirements for convenience, sanitary concerns and aesthetic appeal. From the cups, straws, coffee lids, shampoo bottles, amenity kits, water bottles, and room minibars, to the hotel breakfast buffets, event spaces, and back of house activities, plastics are everywhere in the industry.
Many hotels are aware of the environmental and economic challenges created by their plastic waste. Several hotel chains are developing initiatives to strengthen their sustainability policies and corporate social responsibility (CSR) schemes. Some hotel chains have already developed ambitious goals and sustainability objectives on the use of plastics.
SEA circular is working to support hotels in Thailand as they transform towards less plastic wasted, throughout their operations.
The project is holding a series of ‘roundtable events’ for various sectors to support plastic pollution prevention. For the hotel industry in Thailand, roundtable events are being held for hoteliers and tourism accommodation owners. Hoteliers will discuss best practices, lessons learned and incentives for aggregate industry action. The aim is to support and urgently scale-up plastic waste reduction initiatives and commitments.
Concrete solutions may include; reducing plastic packaging used for bathroom amenities, reducing the use of plastic bags in hotel rooms, reduction of plastic water bottles, and the elimination of plastic straws and single use plastic food or drink containers. Other initiatives to support a more circular approach to waste management include the installation of separate trash bins and waste segregation, as well as incentives and awareness-raising for guests to commit to use less plastic.
The roundtable events will also explore solutions for more challenging issues, including the plastic items coming in from suppliers and from back-of-house activities. These involve areas which are not customer-facing – but are no less damaging.
SEA circular’s engagement with key players in the hotel industry will also provide vital opportunities for industry information-sharing amongst common initiatives. The ultimate goal is that collective monitoring and promotion of best practices can drive industry standards towards less plastic wasted.