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In our continuing efforts to reduce waste and educate our staff, the PATA Green Team organized a workshop at our Bangkok HQ on August 7, 2018. We invited guest speakers from Tavises – Magic Eyes to conduct the workshop.

“Ah! Ah! Don’t litter. Magic Eyes are watching you” is a merry jingle many Gen X Thais are familiar with, and thanks to the efforts of this organisation, the concept will be passed down to future generations.

The speakers, Pa and Nat, introduced their organisation and their mission. They gave an overview of waste management in Thailand and discussed the 5 Rs – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reject – to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Pa and Nat emphasised the idea of refusing to use single-use plastics – especially plastic bags, straws and cups – proposing alternates to single use items such as tote bags instead of plastics bags, reusable tumblers, handkerchiefs instead of tissues/paper towels and reusable cutlery.

To drive the dangers of single-use plastics home, they shared some nerve-wracking facts about plastic pollution:

           

The group shared various ideas about how individuals can manage their waste properly, and how upcycling can be put into practice to give new life to items that would otherwise be thrown away. The speakers concluded their presentation with a poignant video showing humankind’s general exploitative attitude towards the planet.

Today, Lankaow Waan catered our lunch, chosen for not just their delicious food, but also for their recycled and compostable packaging.

     

Efforts made by organisations such as Tavises – Magic Eyes and Lankaow Waan will help educate the world about the benefits and importance of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. The workshop helped put things into perspective and reminded everyone how important it is to be mindful of the decisions each one of us makes.

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Tips on how to extend the lifespan of business cards

Categories: Green Tips
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Business meetings, conferences, networking events, social gatherings, etc., all of these events have one thing in common – the exchange of business cards among professionals. Though we are living in a digital world with smartphones, laptops and tablets, the exchange of business cards is still a universal ritual in the corporate world. They make it easy for people to connect as they carry essential contact information, however 88 percent of business cards handed out will be thrown out in less than a week. With this in mind, we need to make eco-friendly choices at the time of purchase as well as look for ideas to recycle or upcycle in order to help reduce the impact on the environment.

You can make a start with getting business cards printed on recycled paper – be inspired by these five eco-friendly options. You can also hold back on simply throwing out collected or expired cards even if the stack of cards has piled up to an unbearable level on your desk or in your favorite junk drawer. Give them a second chance with one of the following cool and useful recycling and upcycling ideas:

  1. Make your own chalkboard tags: Apply a coat of chalkboard paint to the business cards and let it dry overnight. Punching a hole in the side will turn the old unwanted business card into a stylish hanging label or even gift tag. It makes a neat label for flowers and herbs in your garden or kitchen when attached to a small stick or a toothpick. Be inspired by examples here.
  2. Convert old cards to reusable note cards: Laminate the cards, add a magnet (if you are using magnet board) to one of the sides and add them to your organizational board. Using a dry erase pen to take notes, write down tasks or other reminders, allows you to reuse the cards as often as you wish.
  3. Turn trash into treasured decoration: Get creative and create a piece of decoration made from old business cards for the next office party or a colleague’s birthday. Surprise your team member at their next birthday with a colorful, personalised birthday banner. Get ideas for the design here.
  4. Take it to the next level: If you have more time on your hands, you may want to consider making your own homemade paper from old cards teared into little pieces. You can find instructions here.

There are many ways to extend the lifespan of a business card, choose an option that is most useful for you.

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Credit: unknown on Travel Weekly

Heathrow plans to cut and recycle all single-use coffee cups collected from more 20 outlets and lounges as part of a longer-term ambition to phase out single-use plastics.

The airport estimates that its 78 million annual passengers use more than 13.5 million disposable coffee cups.

The London hub has set a target to standardise and recycle all single-use coffee cups by the end of the year and continue efforts to completely rid staff areas of these cups.

Read the full article here.

By Phil Davies

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April 22 is Earth Day! Did you know that the environmental movement started close to 48 years ago in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development?

This year’s Earth Day campaign will focus on ending plastic pollution – it is now your turn to stand up, join in, and take action!

It is important to remember the connection between plastics and climate change since the latter is one of the most pressing issues affecting our planet today. An estimated five ounces of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ounce of Polyethylene Terephthalate produced.  Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET, is the plastic most commonly used to make water bottles.

Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics is one of them. Find out about the other three here.

With only four days left until Earth Day 2018, here are four things you can do to support #EndPlasticPollution

There are many simple and easy tips to help you go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day. Remember that you can make a difference and be the change every single day of the year.

For more easy reading, check out our tips on how to reduce plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters and 3 easy ways to tackle plastic.

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Credit: WM Media Room

For all the years I’ve worked in the recycling business for Waste Management, I can tell you that the global challenges our industry is facing these days are without precedent.

Simply put, many of the items we all want to recycle are getting hard to market economically. This impacts our business, the environment and the recycling industry as a whole.

Today, the average contamination rate among communities and businesses sits at around 25%. That means that roughly 1 in 4 items placed in a recycling container is actually not recyclable through curbside programs, and this creates enormous problems for the recycling economy.

Read the full article and find out more about the problems for the recycling economy here.

By Brent Bell for Waste Management Media Room.

 

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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips for sustainable hair and skincare when traveling:

The tide of sustainable travel is rising in Asia, thanks to savvy hoteliers who are in tune with the modern traveler’s wishes to experience the beauty of the world without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Sustainability involves everything from water recycling right through to activities such as tree planting or beach clean-ups. Conscientious travelers are taking it a step further by ensuring their skin and beauty routines are not polluting waterways or using environmentally harmful packaging. In this post, we highlight just a few ways that beauty and sustainability during don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts when traveling.

Packaging and content of personal care items

When buying creams and serums to take along with you on your trip, ensure that as many products as possible come in biodegradable, compostable or plantable packaging and that they don’t contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to you and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified personal care products and pharmaceuticals as “emerging contaminants of concern” for fish. These chemicals can lead to various diseases in sea life, which are in turn consumed by other animals up the food chain. Do your share for the environment when shopping for personal care items abroad by avoiding products containing toxic ingredients, some of the most common of which include phthalates, sulfates, and parabens.

Opting for a natural look

Those with long, multi-ethnic hair can choose a perm over natural hair as a way to reduce the need for styling while traveling the globe. While styling curly hair can be more challenging than ‘relaxed’ hair, perms can affect our health and the environment, as toxic chemicals used in these treatments can once again make their way into our water system, affecting fish and other marine life.

One study by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that long-term exposure to products commonly used in hair salons leads to a plethora of negative health conditions frequently faced by salon workers.

Styling curly hair and having beautifully defined curls is easy. It requires two main things: deep moisturization, and a hair diffuser, which is used to give curls an extra bounce. Forego shampooing and use a conditioner instead. While conditioning hair in the shower, add a little olive, coconut, or argan oil and rinse out afterward. For an extra moisture boost, add a bit more oil, comb hair out and voila! You won’t even need to dry your hair afterward.

For makeup, try replacing your favorite commercial brands with mineral makeup brands, which possess beautiful textures and long-lasting power, much like best-selling brands.

DIY beauty

You can make a plethora of travel products yourself and if you use fragrant essential oils, we guarantee you will become hooked on the quality of what you produce. Think exfoliants made by mixing coconut oil with rock salt or sugar, or homemade deodorant made by blending a tablespoon of shea butter, a teaspoon of baking powder and few drops of an essential oil like lemon or bergamot. Think of how much plastic you will be saving by foregoing store-bought versions.

Reuse and recycle

Do you remove makeup with disposable wipes? There is no need to do so when you can do a much better job with a piece of cloth (cut up into squares) and a dab of micellar water, which removes even the toughest makeup products.

To remain beautiful while on the go, try to balance practicality and rapidity with mindful use of resources. Reuse materials when you can, make your own products to go, and support brands that care for the environment and support the causes that mean something to you.

 

Interested in learning more about DIY beauty? Find out how to use coffee grounds in your beauty routine. We’ve also got some great tips on eco-friendly travel essentials for you here. Be sure to check out PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more information about being a responsible traveller before, during and after your trip.

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

How to choose an eco-friendly hotel

Greening the air inside of your home

 

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Halloween is just around the corner so here are some ideas to ensure that the spookiest time of the year is green. Whether you are celebrating with your family and friends or have a themed event at your office, you are only a few steps away from a ‘green’ Halloween.

Decorations and costumes

Look for do-it-yourself decoration ideas by making the most of recyclable items around your house and workplace. Browse for easy recycled decoration ideas and be inspired. Tin cans of all sizes, empty glass bottles, jars and toilet paper rolls can easily be turned into scary décor. It’s the same with your costume. Browse your wardrobes or the local flea markets for clothing suitable for your scary DIY Halloween costume.

Choose environmentally-friendly face paint to make your own fake blood. to get motivated, or if you lack all necessary items, make it a fun get-together with friends and ask them to bring arts and crafts supplies and recycled materials to trade.

Food and drinks

No Halloween party is complete without drinks and snacks. Green your party with reusable crockery and cutlery and search for recyclable or compostable items if required.  Choose organic candy without artificial flavours or preservatives. There are many options for delicious and healthy home-made Halloween snacks including vegetarian/vegan options that do not require detailed preparation and cooking/baking skills.

Pumpkins

Halloween is simply not the same without pumpkins. However, think about how to get the most from your pumpkin. Many people use pumpkins purely for decoration, even though they make delicious pies, soup, bread and even dog food. Check out these creative upcycling ideas for pumpkins using old sweaters, socks and more. If you choose a real pumpkin, make sure to read our tips on what to do with pumpkin waste.  

Take this year’s green Halloween initiative one step further by staging a fun competition in your workplace. Form teams to create the most sustainable and creative decoration for the office and then post your spooky Halloween photos on social media.

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How to create a sustainable school campus

Categories: Climate, Green Tips, People and Places, Waste
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We are all aware of the potential for negative environmental impacts caused by industry and commerce. But what about school and university campuses? Many students living and studying together contribute, inevitably, to the global issues of waste and pollution.

This may not be an issue of paramount concern to students but it is vitally important that we raise awareness of the issue and work together to create more sustainable academic environments. Here are five tips that make a difference.

1. Use your own materials on campus

Plastic bottles, cutlery, plates and cups account for a huge amount of waste on campuses every day. Start with buying, and using daily, your own reusable materials such as a water bottle and container for snacks and lunches.

2. Avoid using paper

Start to digitise. Make sure that e-books are offered instead of paper textbooks for your lectures and take notes on your tablet or laptop (if permitted). Only print when absolutely necessary and promoting student events on social media. Avoid printing and handing out leaflets.

3. Organise a food waste scheme

Check if your campus has a specific scheme to separate and reduce food waste. If this is not the case, spread the word and encourage the administration team to adopt such a scheme. Encourage others by spreading awareness about food waste on social media. Make a short video on your smartphone and share it with your peers. Together, you can make a difference.

4. Cook your meals at home

Instead of buying takeaway meals, cook at home and invite your friends. It’s cheaper, fun and reduces food waste as you have direct control over the size of portions. Keeping leftovers for another tasty meal. This means, inevitably, less packaging – and that’s good for our environment. If you must buy takeout food, use your own container. Find some easy back-to-school recipes here.

5. Cycle or walk to campus

Instead of driving and paying for parking, cycle or walk to the campus. It’s much healthier and so much cheaper.

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Earth Day, Saturday, 22 April, is all about environmental protection.

 

We’ve all heard about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), which help to reduce pollution caused by waste, conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Many industries, including the tourism sector, are big contributors to environmental pollution; however, with proper waste management, a business can improve its business reputation, reduce waste costs and save energy. Reducing the amount of used paper in the offices can make a considerable positive impact.

 

Here are some ideas on how to reduce your paper waste in the office, even after Earth Day:

 

  1. Share files internally:

With Google Docs you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. That means you do not need to share printed papers anymore. Other programmes that offering interactive document editing features include Microsoft Office 365 and Basecamp. For file storage and sharing, Dropbox or WeTransfer are popular options.

 

  1. Multitask:

Consider to invest in a dual or multi-monitor setup. According to the CIO Magazine and the Kyocera Environmental Survey 2011 employees print documents for cross-referencing them with another document. Giving employees more screens can also boost productivity at the same time. LCD monitors typically outlast computer upgrades, so this is one cost you’ll only need to pay once.

 

  1. Communicate with staff:

Explain to staff why it is important to minimise paper use and encourage them to join in the movement. Perhaps a competition that tracks the number of pages printed per person and shared with the team can be implemented and can incentivise staff to use less paper. Of course, this works best if staff are supported with paper saving facilities (online document stores, dual monitors, etc.).

 

  1. Make printing inconvenient:

An easy but effective way to save paper may be to reduce the number printers or paper available. Without fewer available printers in the office, employees are more likely to print less. This tactic can also help to save printer costs.

 

Sometimes, printing is absolutely necessary. Follow these rules for eco-friendly printing.

 

Successfully reducing the use of paper is a not done overnight. It takes effort and continuous education to move away from paper and establish a culture that shuns waste. Adopting the right tools can go a long way toward creating an environment to support a paperless office.

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'green' events planning

In line with 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is important that we take steps towards implementing sustainability in our day-to-day activities. This includes events – a major component of our industry.


There are many things that event planners, service providers and meeting participants may do as a means of contributing to sustainable and responsible event management.

Here are a few simple ‘green’ meeting tips:

1. Use online registration to reduce paper usage

Forget about archaic paper registration methods. Use an online registration tool. Online registration and ticketing not only eliminates excess printed materials but also saves time. Participants love being able to register from any device at any time. Check out Eventbrite, an example of a low-cost online event registration mobile app that can be used to promote and manage your event events.

2. Use electronic communication and marketing

Save a tree by going digital. Send out invitations, real time information, announcements and updates through online media and other online channels. electronic devicesDraw attention to eco-friendly aspects of your event with digital signage and information.

3. Choose a green venue

The venues, and their facilities, have a huge impact on the sustainability of your event. Consider first whether the building itself is certified, for example, by the US Green Building Council. Select an event site that’s easily accessible by foot, bicycle or public transport. This reduces the carbon footprint of your event. If your event is attracting international delegates, give them ‘green’ hotel options.

4. Encourage sustainable transportation

Choose energy efficient, hybrid or electric vehicles for your event. Encourage delegates to travel by public transportation by making it easy for them to navigate. As an alternative, set up carpool service (e.g. liftshare.com) or shuttle bus service for your attendees. Find out more about how to commute in an eco-friendly way; check out 30 ideas on green event transportation.

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5. Recycle and reduce waste at events

Provide bins for recycling and composting to minimise waste-to-landfill. Make recycling stations highly visible and accessible. Liaise with the venue management team about arrangements for composting food waste and donating any excess food to local charities.

6. Minimise energy use

Using natural light instead of artificial light reduces bills and helps the environment. Where electric lighting is required, make the switch to LED bulbs. Switch off lighting and equipment when it is not being used.

7. Go local

Use local vendors for ancillary services such as food, décor, gift items, and rentals. This reduces emissions and gives important support the local economies. Hire local staff to reduce travel times, costs and pollution.

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8. Inspire sustainable practices

Educate and inspire attendees by making your ‘green’ event practices highly visible to all stakeholders, including the public and the media. Encourage responsible behaviour among all stakeholders and foster understanding and appreciation of sustainability by adapting the PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines. Finally, check out our favourite 5 tips to become a responsible green delegate.

 

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