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Discover a variety of tips to improve the sustainability of your tourism business.

Did you know that August is Water Quality Month? Water is the source of all life on Earth, it is one of the major factors that make our planet unique. Humankind is in a position to impact this precious resource; the nature of the impact, positive or negative, is ultimately up to us. Here are 10 tips that will help you preserve water quality and shift to a sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Avoid anti-bacterial soaps because these contain ingredients, such as triclosan, that do more harm than good. Regular soaps aren’t as bad, but the detergents in them can disrupt the water’s surface tension, and the soapy residue that seeps into a water source can promote algae growth. Try using biodegradable soap and shampoo, they have the least negative environmental impact. If you can’t find something that suits you, try DIY!
  2. Always remember to turn off the tap when not in use. Don’t let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth!
  3. Install low flow shower heads and opt for taking showers instead of baths.
  4. Use non-toxic cleaning products in the kitchen, regular cleaners contain alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), these are surfactants that break down into more toxic compounds and do not easily biodegrade in soil and water. They also contain phosphates, which promote undesirable algal growth in water.
  5. Dispose of food waste in an organic waste bin instead of dumping it down the kitchen sink.
  6. Spruce up your car by taking it to a car wash instead of hosing it down yourself. The professionals flush down chemicals into the sewer as opposed to the storm drain.
  7. Instead of using chemical fertilisers/pesticides while gardening, use EMs They are better for your health and the environment.
  8. If you’re going camping, stay at least 200 ft away from water sources while washing and cleaning, keep this in mind even if you’re using biodegradable products. (Check out our guide to having a sustainable outdoor adventure here.)
  9. Always pick up after your pets and dispose of their waste properly. Waste from pets, such as dogs, can mess up the pH balance of the soil. If the waste gets washed into a water body, it will negatively impact the marine life as well.
  10. Don’t dump medicine down the drain. This can pollute the water, expose marine life to harmful chemicals and end up back in our drinking water. Here are options for safe disposal.

Now you’re all set to be a custodian of water quality this month. Remember to spread the message to motivate your friends and family to dive in with you.

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Playtime is crucial to children’s healthy brain development; it is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Whether you are acquiring toys for the special children in your life, or for a play area for your property or restaurant, remember that your choices can make an impact both socially and environmentally.

Here are 7 tips on how you can go about choosing the right toys for kids: 

  1. Look it up

Before purchasing a toy, look it up online to make sure there are no recall notices.

To check if the toy you want to purchase is safe, try looking it up on Healthy Stuff. They have a database of products that you may use to your advantage.

  1. Check for labels

Familiarise yourself with symbols on product labels so that you can avoid toys that may have harmful substances like lead, phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) etc.

If a label is missing, look up the toy online and check if there are any complaints about it.

  1. Shop local

By buying from local vendors, you support the local community and bring down the need for importing products from far-flung places; this subsequently reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well.

  1. Buy second hand

Children grow out of their toys so quickly ­– they lose their lustre or they move past a certain developmental phase. Look out for yard sales, and check your local consignment store or Salvation Army for deals! You’ll be surprised to find many new toys still in the box. On the flip side, when your children grow out of their toys that still have lots of life left, save them for nieces and nephews, donate them, or sell them on a local Facebook group! Make a buck while saving more items from landfill.

  1. Select the right material

Try to avoid buying plastic toys whenever you can because, they can often contain various chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to your little ones and the environment.

Consider toys made from more natural materials, such as wood, wool, and cotton. If you’re buying puzzles and books, check to see if natural inks were used on recycled and biodegradable materials.

  1. Get creative

Perhaps exercise your creativity and handcraft something for your kids to play with. Here are some fun DIY projects you can try. Other favourite resources include:

  1. Steer clear of batteries

Batteries pose a threat to the environment because of the toxic waste they release upon disposal. They are also a choking hazard for your little rug rats. Therefore, instead of opting for battery-powered products, go for ones where your kids have the freedom to bring the toys to life with pure, unadulterated imagination.

Sustainable toys will not only ensure a safe and happy childhood for your kids, but it will also help secure the world for generations to come. It’s a win-win!

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As the global mindset shifts towards a more sustainable future, resorts in Thailand are also taking initiatives in this direction. These efforts are accelerating positive change in the tourism industry. Here are some initiatives that resorts are taking to show that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.

Cleaning:

Community:

Construction:

  • Soneva Kiri: Materials used to construct the resort are natural and from sustainable sources.
  • Six Senses Yao Noi: Utilises surrounding nature & natural resources to educate guests.
  • Bangkok Treehouse: Energy from renewable sources.
  • Tongsai Bay: No trees were cut during the resort’s construction.

Food:

Waste:

  • Soneva Kiri: Single use plastics and imported water bottles are banned.
  • Soneva Kiri: Waste management is done by onsite composting and a bio-fuel plant within the resort provides fuel to run conventional engines.
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Sometimes, you just want to escape into the wild and break away from routine. Camping trips help to rejuvenate the soul and give you a fresh perspective on life. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Although, it would be a shame if your trip adversely affected the environment.

Here are some tips on how you can enjoy an eco-friendly camping experience:

  • Reduce your carbon emission by carpooling to the camp site instead of arriving in separate vehicles.
  • Bring reusable utensils, plates, and pack refillable water bottles. This is cost efficient and will minimise waste.
  • Leave nothing but footprints and make sure to dispose of your garbage properly. Carry enough garbage bags and recycling bags. If there are no designated dumping bins, pack up the trash and don’t leave any behind.
  • A cosy campfire to gather around and roast marshmallows over can be great, just make sure that your location doesn’t have a fire ban; if there isn’t one, then be sure to keep your fire under control.
  • Never get too close to wild animals, don’t feed them either. Store your food and garbage securely so that animals can’t rummage through.
  • Preserve the tranquillity of the environment, let nature’s sound carry on triumphantly.
  • For washing and cleaning, use products that are less harmful for the environment. Try biodegradable soaps and check out these multipurpose alternatives. Just remember that no matter what the label, no soap/detergent etc. should be used directly in rivers or lakes. Use such products at least 200 feet away from any water source.
  • Consider alternatives to toxic bug sprays. Read more about natural mosquito repellents.
  • You can even try using a DIY natural sunscreen.

To learn more about planning responsible outdoor trips, read our previous posts: Enjoying a responsible national park visit and Tepee or not tepee. That is the question.

If you’re looking for a more glamorous camping experience, then perhaps glamping might be what you’re looking for. Either way, a break from a bustling life is just what the doctor ordered!

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Wildlife encounters are one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have, but your safety and the animal’s welfare should be your highest priority.

Here are some tips on how to have an exhilarating and responsible wildlife experience:

  • If you can, visit animals in the wild or in sanctuaries where they are kept in the most natural conditions possible. If you’re looking for a more affordable option such as a zoo, do some research on the establishment’s stance on animal welfare before you purchase a ticket.

 

  • Don’t use animals as photo props. Critters such as the slow loris are adorable, but they get distressed when held; therefore, no matter how cute or seemingly harmless, avoid the urge to treat wild animals as cuddly toys.

 

  • Check if your tour operator has taken adequate measures to ensure safety for you and the wildlife. You can reduce uncertainty by booking tours through tour operators that have special accreditations, that show they follow sustainable tourism practices, such as PATA members Khiri and Buffalo Tours.

 

  • Appreciate animals just as they are and respect them. Some attractions may have your favourite creatures behaving in a way they normally wouldn’t in the wild. It’s best to avoid supporting such activities, as it is difficult to access whether the training methods used to tame the animals are responsible or not.

 

 

Spend sustainably because your refusal to engage in potentially dubious activities will bring down the business that profits at the expense of wildlife.

For more background information on the role of elephants in Asia and animal welfare, visit the links below:

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of animal welfare in tourism, check out ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines.

 

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Enjoy the summertime while practicing eco-friendly habits. A little goes a long way in terms of sustainability, and every bit of effort counts.

Here are seven tips to help you go green this summer:

  • Stay hydrated by carrying your own refillable tumbler or water bottle. Refuse to use single use plastic bottles, cups and straws.
  • Get a few indoor plants, they can act as natural air purifiers and will liven up your space.
  • Save on your electricity bill by letting in natural daylight. Remember to turn off lights, fans and other electronic appliances when not in use. Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Use eco-friendly deodorants to stay fresh this summer. They are better for your skin and, of course, the environment. If you can’t find them in the market, try this simple DIY.
  • Prepare a hearty meal at home and avoid processed foods. This will minimize waste generation and will also be beneficial for your health.
  • Ride your bicycle or walk to travel short distances. Use public transport to cover greater distance. If you can’t avoid driving, try staying within the speed limit, as this is more fuel efficient.
  • Instead of using the dryer for clothes, let your laundry dry out in the summer sun.
  • Shop for produce at local markets. This supports the economy and the community at large.

If you’re planning to go on holiday, try going green and help to preserve the beautiful destinations for generations to come.

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Australia has shown immense dedication to the Sustainable Development Goals with the government, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals showing a strong commitment in building a sustainable future.

Below, we look at a few destinations from “down under” and their sustainability efforts.

Brisbane
The third largest city in Australia ranks high in terms of sustainability because of their efficient and easily accessible transport system. Due to their focus on sustainable activities such as composting, waste management, and recycling, Brisbane won the Dame Phyllis Frost first prize in 2015.

City of Canada Bay (Sydney)
The City of Canada Bay is an area located in Sydney. A common feature for all initiatives introduced by the local administration is the involvement of citizen participation. The city has also launched the Greenhouse Action Plan, with a commitment to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Glenorchy (Hobart)
The small town of Glenorchy, located in Hobart, has been recognised for a project involving the industrial reuse of rainwater, which saves approximately 400 million litres of water a year. Furthermore, the town has taken steps to educate the youth with awareness campaigns on solidarity recycling, compost recycling and urban gardens.

For more examples of other noteworthy sustainable destinations in Australia, have a look at the list compiled by Keep Australia Beautiful here.

Tip for travellers

If you would like to find out which Australian tourism operators, accommodations, and attractions are eco-friendly, then look for accreditation by Ecotourism Australia. The Eco Certification logo is carried by those businesses that are recognised as environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

You can visit the Green Travel Guide, published by Ecotourism Australia, to go through their list of all accredited businesses.

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Preserving the environment and working towards a more sustainable future have become increasingly important agenda items in the world today. Tourism has a significant impact on the world economy, local communities, and the environment. As a result, businesses and individuals are now thinking in more sustainable ways.

People concerned about being a responsible traveller act as a driving force behind this global effort towards sustainability, with their own actions and choices. Therefore, it is beneficial to be informed about the local practices and the sustainability efforts that are being made by the destination you are planning to visit.

Here are some ways you can stay informed and become a sustainable traveller:

  • Minimise waste by using only what you need. Say no to plastic, as it is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution.
  • Conserve the natural resources of the place you are visiting.
  • Support the local economy by shopping at local stores and vendors.
  • Make sure your actions are not adversely affecting the wildlife of the destination.
  • Make better decisions on where to stay via Bookdifferent, a hotel booking site that shows you the eco-label of various destinations and hotels.
  • Visit Verdict to stay on top of the latest news about travel destinations that are working on sustainable tourism.

Business travellers can also check out our responsible business travel guidelines to be better informed for your next trip.

Travelling is the best way to discover the world and fall in love with it. However, it is just as important that we work to develop a responsible and sustainable tourism industry to make sure what we love is preserved for future generations.

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Wrap it, zip it, collapse it – eco-friendly food storage on the go and at home

Categories: Green Tips
Comments Off on Wrap it, zip it, collapse it – eco-friendly food storage on the go and at home

Credit: Shutterstock

Do you love snacking or preparing your own food yet are lacking environmentally-friendly packaging? Grabbing snacks on the go often comes with a lot of single-use, unnecessary plastic wrapping and packaging that we dispose after only minutes of use. We often tend to use disposable wrapping in our kitchen as it seems convenient for storing and keeping food fresh. However the environment takes a hit at the same time. 

Make your next take-away sustainable and green up your food storage solutions. Here are three products that allow you to prepare for your cravings in an eco-friendly way,

 1. Bee’s wraps: These amazing food wraps are made of cloth, beeswax and tree resin. They are washable in soap and cold water, reusable and sealed by the warmth of your hands. You no longer need to wrap food in plastic! Learn of its benefits through this short video clip. 

2. Reusable ziplock and sandwich bags: There are many different convenient and most importantly reusable options that fit your needs and help you ditch disposable plastic wrappings – from a durable, water- and air-tight seal, to dishwasher-safe designs, to cases that unfold into a placemat and more. Compare different options available here and pick the ones you need. 

3. Collapsible food containers: This lightweight and airtight silicone option is perfect for on the go. They are true space savers and come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some examples by collapse-it and Thin Bins. 

Remember that there is always an alternative to single-use plastics. A quick search online will provide you with a variety of options that will help you along your plastic detox journey. Start with replacing one item at a time and encourage others to do the same.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Every time food is wasted, all the money, packaging, manpower, and water are wasted too. The loss of natural resources such as land, water, and biodiversity, as well as the negative impacts of climate change represent huge costs to society. To minimise our impact on the environment, every single one of us needs to ensure that we work to reduce and ultimately prevent food waste in our very own kitchens on a daily basis. Luckily, we have some EGG -citing tips for you to take back to your kitchen and implement right away:

Feast your eyes on this short video clip that provides tips on how to reduce food waste posted on the UN FAO Instagram account. We know it is corny, but food is simply a-MAIZE-ing, so LETTUCE celebrate, make responsible choices and prevent food waste from going to landfill.

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