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Coffee. It’s the first drink that kick-starts each day for many readers and there are certainly ways to ensure that the coffee you drink has been produced in a sustainable manner.  But what about the by-product of your coffee? Is it possible to make constructive use of the coffee grounds?

 

Here are some effective ways to give your coffee grounds a second life.

 

 

Finally, always use a separate bin for your coffee grounds. They make a wonderful fertiliser, help earthworms to live longer and also act as an effective deterrent against garden pests.

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On a recent holiday to Koh Samui, Thailand, PATA Marketing and Communications Intern Kaitlin Corbeil took the opportunity to hold an impromptu interview with Mr Korakot Nachalaem, Resort Manager at Six Senses Resort.

In this interview, Mr Nachalaem talks about the success of the resort’s sustainable practices, explaining how the property utilizes its island environment, transforms food waste into profit and highlights the need for sustainable habits both in the industry and in the lives of all individuals. He also took a moment to provide a guided tour of the property’s self-managed goat and chicken farm, a key component of the resort’s strategic sustainability policy.

Six Senses is just one example of how hotels can take steps to manage their food waste and environmental impact, providing an encouraging example that should inspire other hotel and resort properties to do the same.

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Photographer: Wayne Lawrence for Bloomberg Businessweek

A mahout, wearing the traditional mohom outfit—denim, red neckerchief, and yellow straw hat—sits atop an elephant at Anantara.

Anantara Golden Triangle in northern Thailand is one of the only places where you can ethically interact with the country’s elephants.

 

I’m half-submerged in the Mekong River—the watery border that ­separates Laos from Thailand and Myanmar—sitting atop a big-eared, pink-spotted, 3-ton elephant named Poonlarp. Her skin looks soft from a distance, but it’s much coarser up close, covered in inch-long bristles. Her gait, which at first gives the appearance of flowing-through-honey movement, feels wobbly up this high. She’s alternately headstrong and playful. If you’ve ever walked a large, stubborn dog, you have an idea what it’s like to ride an elephant. This is the ­bucket-list item that brings people here to Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

 

Read more about ethically interacting with elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort here. 

 

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

Restaurants, campuses, and farmers are battling food waste in their industries. Here’s how you can join the effort.

 

America is one of the largest offenders of food waste in the world, according to a recent survey. Every year, roughly 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown out worldwide, a considerable problem given that agriculture contributes about 22 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions and 12.7 million people go hungry in America alone.

Entrepreneurs across several sectors have created ways to re-purpose food. Their efforts are admirable and economical, but the biggest difference will be if you make food waste reduction a daily habit.

 

 

Read more about how you can give food a new purpose here.

 

By Joseph Jaafari from NationSwell

 

 

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

There’s a big lie about plastic — that you can throw it away. But that’s not true; there is no “away.”

Plastic bottles, plastic bags, snack wrappers, foam takeout containers, foam coffee cups, packing materials: these common, everyday items make up 85% of our waste stream. These items aren’t biodegradable and our ability to recycle them is limited.

 

This societal reliance on throw-away plastic is strangling our environment — particularly our waterways.

More than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans each year, where it kills animals and fouls waterways and beaches. This isn’t the work of careless litterbugs at the beach. Over 80% of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources. Even if you live inland and take care to properly dispose of your trash, there is a good chance some of your plastic waste has found its way to the sea.

 

Consider the American Great Lakes, where 80% of the litter along the shorelines is plastic. That trash doesn’t stay put — it flows through the canals and river systems through the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Atlantic Ocean. A takeout container that blows off a Chicago landfill can wind up off the coast of Africa.

From there, the damage gets far worse. Once in the ocean, plastic eventually breaks into micro-particles that cause toxins to enter the food chain.

A single discarded piece of plastic breaks down into millions — and these bits are mistaken for food and ingested by even the smallest organisms on the oceanic food chain. Contaminated zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, which are fed on by small fish, who are fed on by squid — and so it goes on up to our dinner plates.

 

Read the full article here.

 

By Julie Anderson from Los Angeles Time

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

June is a popular month in western countries for getting married. Couples who are approaching the final preparations for their big day have many things on their minds and therefore sustainability may be the least of their worries.

 

However, here are some tips to help wedding planners and venue operators show leadership in sustainable practices, making sure that newlyweds begin their lives together in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.

 

  1. Flowers

Choose flowers that are VeriFlora certified and grown without chemicals. Seasonally available and locally purchased flowers also mean a lower footprint. Flowers can also serve double duty – for the ceremony decorations as well as table centrepieces to help cut costs. Couples may also consider eco alternatives to flowers such as potted plants and EcoFlower, which often offers discounts for brides. After the wedding, consider working with organisations such as Rebloom to make sure the flower arrangements are reused.

 

  1. Catering

Food is a major element in every wedding celebration so consider purchasing organic and sustainable food or sourcing quality excess food from organisations such as Oz Harvest. Suggest vegetarian alternatives, seasonal and locally grown food, and sustainable options such as sustainable seafood which may reduce drastically the carbon footprint of the wedding. Read more on how to reduce carbon emission with the right catering.

 

  1. Decorations

Whether the wedding is on a beach or in an hotel or other indoor venue the decorations always play an important role. Consider purchasing decorations from a party rental service, – helping to trim costs and reduce waste. Look for high-quality equipment from a garage sale that gives a trendy ‘vintage look’ for the wedding. Make sure to save any purchased decor for other events.

 

  1. Create an eco-friendly wedding package

Assess activities that are successful and combine them into a beautiful eco-friendly package that is sure to catch the eye. Meeting the demands of young couples keeps you on track to market your services to an even wider audience.

 

 

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Credit: Travindy

The annual HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards were launched in 2007 and are designed to recognize hotels in the Asia Pacific region creating innovative new methods, strategies and technologies to face today’s sustainable development challenges, while providing tangible examples of sustainable best practices that can be replicated and adapted across the region.

Burba Hotel Network (BHN), Horwath HTL, and Stiles Capital Events, co-hosts and organisers of the annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP), are now accepting entries. The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2017.

The 28th annual HICAP will be held 18-20 October 2017, at the InterContinental Hong Kong.

Award submissions will be judged by a specially selected panel of experts including:

• Robert Day, Senior Vice President, WATG

• Lyndall DeMarco, Managing Director, Only Sustainability Pty Ltd

• Prashant Kapoor, EDGE Program Lead and Principal Specialist Green Buildings, IFC

• Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview

• Masaru Takayama, Founder and Chair, Asian Ecotourism Network

Read more about the HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards here.

By Green Hotelier from Travindy

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The Code (short for “The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism”) is an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

Visit their events on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism:

  1. Workshop on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism: 7-8 June, 2017 Luang Prabang, Laos
  2. Industry Training Session on Preventing Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, 15 June, 2017, Chiang Mar, Thailand

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

Did you know?

Our planet cannot digest plastic

Plastic makes up about 90% of ocean pollution in the world

In China, 3 billion single-use plastic bags are used every day

The average plastic bag is only used for less than 15 minutes

 

The problem with plastic is that it’s inexpensive and therefore disposable. And when it’s so disposable, there is a lot of it, and a lot of litter, creating unsightly cities, and clogged and polluted waters.

 

We, the tourism industry, are dependent on clean oceans, pristine beaches, and ecological diversity. Local communities are dependent on fresh water and clean cities. It is time to take leadership and proactively reduce the use of plastic in the travel industry.

 

Here are some ways we can tackle plastic pollution in the tourism industry:

 

  1. Charge for it:

It can be difficult to change the legislation on plastic bans, but it isn’t impossible. Charging the customer an additional fee can be an incentive to reduce the demand for plastic products. Read more one the example of Ireland, who was able to reduce the plastic bag consumption by approximately 98 per cent within a week in 2007 by increasing the price for plastic bags.

 

  1. Replace your plastic products

 

  • Use only reusable glasses, mugs, and water bottles at conferences instead of plastic bottles
  • Simply do not allow plastic straws at your hotel or venue, or replace with biodegradable, paper, or bamboo straws
  • Replace single use toiletries with large pump bottles that can be refilled; replace plastic toothbrushes for giveaways with wooden ones
  • Initiate green meeting policies: check out this example

 

  1. Educate stakeholders, staff and travellers

Because everyone uses plastic, it is important to engage with every person involved in the business to educate them about the negative impacts of plastic use and how to make a positive, plastic-free change.

 

What to tell stakeholders:

Reducing plastic means reducing costs! Unnecessary material usage can be avoided, saving a lot of money in production and in waste management. Uptake of environmental management methods may attract new customers or partners who are seeking more environmental friendly businesses. Read more about the benefits of an environmental friendly business.

 

What to tell staff:

Employees play a very important role in doing the right thing with your business. It is important to understand that waste separation and the time and labour involved can not only be costly for the employer, but also very mundane for the worker. It is by no means a glamourous task, so actively reducing plastic means less work in the end. Often, particularly in an office environment, out of sight is out of mind. Once a person puts a piece of plastic is in the trash, they will never see it again. Help staff understand plastic’s lifecycle, and that reducing plastic can make an enormous impact on our planet and communities. Read more on how to engage employees in CSR.

 

What to tell my guests:

Empower your staff to teach guests about your company’s sustainability policy, as it relates to plastic. Explain why you are not using plastic straws or bags, and actively tell your story! Read more on communicating sustainability to guests.

 

Plastic is a global problem, but one that is being tackled all over the world. See how some African countries governments even banned the use of plastic, and consider how we can learn from this example. It is important to move proactive and be the change you wish to see in the Asia Pacific region.

 

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Solar panels at the Googleplex, headquarters of Google in Mountain View, Calif. Its data centers worldwide will run entirely on renewable energy by the end of this year, the technology giant announced in December. Credit Smith Collection/Gado, via Getty Images

 

The Trump administration may be pondering a retreat from the United States’ climate commitments, but corporate America is moving ahead with its own emissions goals.

Nearly half of the Fortune 500 biggest companies in the United States have now set targets to shrink their carbon footprints, according to a report published Tuesday by environmental organizations that monitor corporate emissions pledges. Twenty-five more companies adopted climate targets over the last two years, the groups said.

Almost two dozen companies, including Google, Walmart and Bank of America, have pledged to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, with varying deadlines, compared with just a handful in 2015. Google’s data centers worldwide will run entirely on renewable energy by the end of this year, the technology giant announced in December.

Read the full article on how companies step up on emissions here.

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