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The Power to Create a Wave of Change

With everyone playing a part, challenging themselves to change some area in their lives to reduce a convenience they enjoy, together we can create a wave of change to preserve and heal our planet.

Gaia Go Green

Syntech Chemicals is a Singaporean company that produces cleaning and sanitisation solutions and have a green range (Gaia) that has been endorsed by the Green Label Singapore.  Syntech provided a booth for me at the Food Hotel Asia 2018 which I used to influence their customers and others to be more sustainable in their processes with regards to:

  • Waste produced
    • Single Use Plastic
    • Food waste
    • Linen (from hotels and restaurants)
  • Energy
  • Water

Overall there were a lot of positive statements from stakeholders in the hotel, laundry and restaurant businesses from around the world. There were many more individual pledges rather than the organisations themselves.

I will Save the planet

Here is a summary of those pledges:

  • 3 hotels to reduce food waste & single use plastic
  • 10 restaurants to reduce single use plastic, food waste and water waste (by turning off the taps)
  • Organisations to create a recycle programme
  • 3 organisations will get involved with community/beach clean ups. Note those in Singapore can borrow tools from the Public Hygiene Council
  • Individuals who will
    • Purchase any other bottle rather than single use bottles
    • Refuse plastic straws, bags, cups and containers. They will BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable)
    • Examine personal waste generated and be more mindful
    • Use eco-friendly products
    • Create own products (like shampoo, soap and toothpaste)

Also had pledges from WasteMaster for $800 SGD towards the transportation of Green Ambassador volunteers for the next project (reducing landfill waste generated at the Sundown Marathon which will have 25,000 participants) as well as another $500 SGD from PNG Hospitality.

What I Learned

Spoke to stakeholders from hotels in India, Mauritius, Bintan and Bali who sound like they really walk the talk. Most of them call themselves eco-resorts; some do not as they believe this should be the norm (of course big hugs to them).

  • Very low energy usage as there are no aircons, just sea breezes and LED lighting.
  • Very conservative on water and collect water (grey water), some turn it into portable water
  • Any food waste is fed to animals / composted and used in gardens as well as growing vegetables and herbs for their own restaurants
  • Natural fibres are used for all employee clothing and linen used within guests hotels (hemp, cotton, bamboo although see below about bamboo fibres)
  • A hotel in India also uses looms to recreate materials, generating threads out of any linen that has become too worn looking
  • No single-use plastic is used
  • Organise regular beach cleanups, often getting guests involved
  • Use their place as an opportunity to educate guests and their children about conservation

Some Techno-Bable About Bamboo Clothing

One hotelier shared with me that bamboo fibres could be mechanically created but the luxuriously feeling bamboo textiles are most likely “cooked” in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH – also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide known as hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching. Both of these chemicals have been linked to serious health problems. The potential health risks and damage to the environment surrounding the manufacturing facilities for textile manufacturing processes like bamboo or other regenerated fibers using this process are thus not considered sustainable or environmentally supportable.

Some Historic Changes This Year

At the end of 2017, the wheels of plastic change began to creak. Countries pledged to stop dumping plastic in the world’s ocean. Additionally China was in the hot house for being the biggest dumper of plastic waste into the ocean. In January 2018 China banned importing bales of toxic plastic waste from Western Countries (incs USA, Europe, Australia & New Zealand)

China

Coinciding with the China ban and the pledges around the world, a series about our Blue Planet was released by the BBC raising further awareness about our endemic waste issue.

Everyone needs to grow up & take responsibility for the waste they are producing.

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