7 years ago, we replaced our plastic water bottles with refillable metal flasks. Then, 2 years ago, we swapped plastic drinking straws for reusable ones. Both initiatives were remarkably easy to implement and well supported. Several back-of-house measures have also been introduced over the years, but we believe we must do much more now. Unintentionally, we pollute our planet with plastic and polythene waste – as does almost every hotel I’ve come across! I’m happy to say however, Buckingham Place has embarked on a journey to stop doing so. The first leg; PHASE OUT BY 75% OR MORE THE PURCHASE & USE OF PLASTIC & POLYTHENE – BY JANUARY 2019 has been achieved if not surpassed.
Treating the exercise much like a school project, we began with micro-audits throughout the hotel, ‘drilling down’ to separate audits for bedrooms and bathrooms. Then, with some imagination plus a modest financial commitment, and I stress modest, we set about our task. Now, so many solutions are in place as a result, while others are about to be. Do bananas need polythene bags? Can’t we shop or meet suppliers with our own bags made from repurposed worn-out furnishing fabrics? We made 100 of them – very stylish they are too! Our suppliers are now aware we favour those who ‘go with the program’ or do their best to. Many delivers to us minus their nasty plastic packaging and we’ve banned polythene bags outright. At the supermarket we unwrap and hand back packaging when we remember, much to the confusion of unsuspecting staff and other customers at the check-out!
Almost every day we make mistakes – plastic a hard habit to break – but we forgive ourselves and move on, with a determination to learn, persevere and succeed. We’re not the first to embark on such a journey nor claim we know our way, but surely, we can all help to keep this island beautiful, protect its wildlife, and of equal importance – safeguard its oceans and fragile food chains? I end on this optimistic note. It now takes 4 weeks even during peak season, to fill a repurposed oil-drum ‘Plastic Central’ with all the plastic and polythene waste generated by the hotel – a fraction of what was generated previously.
If you notice we’ve overlooked something please tell us, but forgive us too, because we really are trying. Please take your plastic home if you can and encourage us by sharing your own ideas and enthusiasm – thank you.
Let’s go anti-plastic together?