All 19 Sandals and Beaches Resorts across seven Caribbean islands will eliminate all single-use plastic straws.
The resorts, across Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados and Turks & Caicos had used around 21,490,800 straws and stirrers each year.
Sandals Resorts International aims to have stopped offering the plastic straws by November 1, 2018. Eco-friendly paper straws will be available upon request.
“Love is at the crux of all Sandals Resorts, and this love extends to the oceans and communities around them,” said Adam Stewart, deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International.
“We care deeply about our commitment to preserving both marine wildlife and human health within the many beautiful islands we’re connected to. Eliminating single-use plastic straws and stirrers is only the beginning of our journey toward helping create a plastic-free sea in the region we call home.”
Sandals has also partnered with Oceanic Global, a non-profit organisation suggesting solutions to issues impacting our oceans.
Through the partnership, Sandals is conducting an audit – of both front and back of house – to determine a roadmap to the elimination of single-use plastic across its resorts. The audit will be conducted in accordance to guidelines outlined in Oceanic Global’s industry-specific sustainability toolkit, The Oceanic Standard.
Following the elimination of single-use plastic straws and stirrers, Sandals will “explore opportunities” to eliminate other plastic across its resorts by September 2019. The use of plastic laundry bags and plastic bags in gift shops have already been eliminated.
Sandals is the first all-inclusive resort to join Oceanic Global’s campaign.
Lea d’Auriol, founder of Oceanic Global, said: “Seventy percent of our world is made up of oceans. It’s critical that we take steps to protect this precious resource – and Sandals is sending the message to companies with a major presence along ocean shores that they have a responsibility to take action, and that preserving ocean health can be both efficient and effective.”
The initiative is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic waste in the Caribbean region, which attracts more than 30 million visitors each year to its more than 700 islands and coastlines.
The Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, has “intensified” efforts to reduce plastic pollution in the Caribbean and educate communities on the dangers plastic pollution poses to the environment, health and tourism. Recent initiatives include distributing reusable water bottles in schools across the Caribbean, delivering reusable tote bags to supermarkets and instituting a Solid Waste Reduction Project in Jamaica’s South Coast.
Heidi Clarke, executive director of the Sandals Foundation, said: “Plastic pollution is one of the leading environmental issues in the Caribbean. Sandals and Beaches Resorts are rooted in oceanfront communities, and we are committed to protecting our marine wildlife, developing effective conservation practices, and teaching the next generation the importance of caring for their communities.”