Plastic pollution looms as one of the most pressing threats to our environment, impeding the restoration of our earth’s natural ecosystems. Single-use plastics are one of the biggest culprits, as they have a production time of mere seconds, usage span of minutes or days, and a decomposition process spanning hundreds of years.
At Banyan Tree, we believe that the journey towards sustainability hinges on the accumulation of many small choices to yield significant impact. Just by consciously choosing to purchase non-plastic products, or products without unnecessary plastic packaging, individual consumers wield the power to communicate evolving purchasing preferences to producers. This, in turn, holds the potential to shape both what they offer and how they do so.
This year, the theme for World Environment Day on June 5 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. This day was first announced in 2021, as the start of the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) – a United Nations initiative designed to rally nations, organisations, and individuals alike under a common goal of restoring our earth.
As a Group, we made a pledge on Earth Day 2018 to eliminate single-use plastic from all Banyan Tree properties around the world. We track many categories of plastic including bags, bottles, straws, gloves, caps, cotton buds, cling film, pastry piping bags, tapes, coffee capsules, condiments, candies and wrappers. Our first steps are to reduce use, replace with biodegradable alternatives, and target the elimination of plastic straws, bottles and bags at all our properties.
Compared to a 2017 baseline, we had saved over 20 million plastic items and cut down on 54% of single-use plastic. 10 of our properties have in fact achieved over 80% reduction, with 4 having gone beyond 90% reduction.
Some of our biggest reductions came from plastic straw use, where we eliminated 99.7% of plastic straws, saving almost 2.5 million pieces of plastic per year. We have also eliminated over 1.8 million plastic water bottles, 1.7 million garbage bags and 900,000 cotton buds annually. Not to mention over 2,100km of cling film has also been reduced, which is almost the equivalent distance from Singapore to Manila.
Cumulatively, we have prevented a total of over 26 million pieces of plastic from ending up in the landfill as of 2022*.
*Figures obtained from the Banyan Tree Group Sustainability Report 2022