More than a decade has passed since designer Anya Hindmarch launched her signature cloth bag with the tagline “I am not a plastic bag” written on its side. We all remember standing in the snake like queues for the highly sought after bag, promising to reduce or stop using single use plastic bags.
Yet here we still are, cringing while reading how we are feeding the fish and turtles with plastic. And for those of us living in Bali, on the frontline, somehow it feels even more real.
We can still enjoy picturesque white sand beaches and breathtaking rice paddies. But the island has been fighting an environmental crisis that is very obviously littering our island – an island that we would like to continue referring to as paradise.
Just like a Christmas present, on December 24th 2018, Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster announced that plastic will finally be banned in Bali in 2019. The ban will include plastic straws and Styrofoam.
While the new initiative should become effective within six months, giving businesses time to draw up a plan and carefully implement it, the governor hopes to reduce Bali’s plastic marine pollution by 70%.
Of course there will be growing pains, for businesses and at home, but this is something we can all support. Our generation, and our children’s, so we may still call Bali our paradise.
We also talked to some of our friends in Bali’s hotel industry. Here are some of their thoughts:
The Westin Resort:
“Marriott has implemented a no plastic straw policy, which has had a huge impact – trying to do it on a daily basis, making it a habit; beach cleaning; using recycled plastics; carefully selecting our products and finding better ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We have also been practicing clutter-free meetings where plastic bottled water is replaced with infused water in jugs, plus we minimize the use of paper too. When small changes become a habit, it can have a huge impact.” Oriol Montal- General Manager
Renaissance Bali Uluwatu:
“We have processes in place for all areas of the business. For example, we have a system that helps focus on reducing energy and water usage, and programs to reduce food waste. We are currently in talks with our partners and vendors to reduce plastic usage in our hotels.” Brad Edman- General Manager
The Stones Legian:
“Our most recent initiative was to ban plastic, including take-away cutlery. We are working on sustainable food packaging and also an initiative to reduce plastic water bottles. We also partnered up with a local charity called SOS to whom we donate surplus food; they then distribute it to other areas of Bali in need. We also do monthly beach cleaning.” Bennath Evea- Director of Food and Beverage
“We’ve been practicing some initiatives the past years in all of our properties in Bali, Bandung, and Jakarta. Guests get their receipts with no envelopes, or we can email them should the guests agree to it. All of our laundry and trash bags are biodegradable, and we seek for guests participation by informing them we only wash towels once eve two days unless if they request otherwise.” Yohanes Hutauruk- Corporate Director of Marketing Communications.
How about you? Any initiatives you’ve been practicing? Remember, big or small, it will make a huge difference for the good. Bye-bye plastic bags!