PHUKET, THAILAND—Since July 1, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort has stopped using single-use plastics in the workplace. All hosts have received Outrigger “bags for life” and a takeaway mug to help them kick the habit of takeaway plastic drink containers, straws and bags.
The push is part of Outrigger’s OZONE—the company’s global conservation initiative to safeguard oceans and island environments. The property’s OZONE ambassador, Leah Matters, says the initiative, still in its first phase, is to hold management and hosts accountable and eliminate single-use plastics from the resort.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback on social media platforms,” says Matters. “Guests are posting pictures and congratulating Outrigger. They are telling us, both verbally and in writing, that they have chosen our resort based on our commitment to the environment and our efforts in trying to eliminate single-use plastic.”
A Deciding Factor for Guests
Matters says that environmental initiatives are increasingly becoming a deciding factor for guests choosing the resort, a 255-key absolute beachfront property for families and active lifestyle guests featuring contemporary Thai touches and award winning service. Guest reviews have earned the resort a place in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame for Excellence.
Beyond banning single-use plastics, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort uses a reverse osmosis water plant to purify and bottle its own drinking water. All guestrooms, conference facilities and restaurants feature reusable glass bottles. Plastic bottles and straws are no longer supplied by the hotel anywhere. All takeaway containers, including coffee cups, are now produced from recycled materials.
A public drinking tap linked to the reverse osmosis plant allows guests to fill up their bottles 24 hours a day. Stainless steel and sports water bottles are available in the resort’s shop.
The resort has a long-running beach cleaning activity which takes place every Friday at 4:30 p.m. Guests are invited to join staff and management in picking up any rubbish and plastic on the beach.
The Koh Kids club in the resort also has a daily OZONE program including a beach cleanup. Children can plant trees and use recycled materials for arts and crafts, including making hats out of newspaper.
Matters says the next big challenge is encouraging local food suppliers to limit single-use plastics. The hotel has already supplied heavy duty containers to fruit suppliers to discourage them from wrapping pineapple and watermelons in individual plastic bags.
“Working with local suppliers in Phuket and getting them to change packing habits is the next frontier,” says Matters. “It’s a slow process, but we are encouraging them and leading by example where we can.”