AKARYN HOTEL GROUP aims to do away with single-use plastic items by 2020.
The group’s newest hotel, akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok, scheduled to be launched in May, is earmarked to lead the initiative as the first property in Asia to adopt this "single-use plastic free policy" in its rooms, food and beverage outlets.
The group's eco-friendly approach for this hotel began with sourcing glass bottles and containers towards the goal of "no single-use plastic" in its rooms, restaurants and bars, said Anchalika Kijkanakorn, the group's founder and managing director.
The hotel will extend the initiative to guests on arrival, offering stylish akyra stainless steel water bottles that can be refilled during their stay, added Anchalika who was named a Hero of Philanthropy by Forbes Asia in 2015 in recognition of her dedication to conservation.
Drinking-water dispensers will be positioned on all floors of akyra TAS Sukhumvit and guests can take their bottles with them on excursions and shopping trips around the city.
Among the bathroom amenities are locally-made “celadon” pottery containers filled with oil-based products. Bio-degradable bin bags will be used in all rooms and shopping bags will be offered to guests, who are encouraged to refuse the use of plastic bags, when shopping at retail outlets or shopping malls in the city.
"We aim to remove all single-use plastic from our rooms and restaurants, such as plastic straw, plastic glasses, and plastic bottles. Guest room amenities will be made from either sustainable wood, paper, or other biodegradable materials," Anchalika said.
"We will start the initiative with akyra Sukhumvit. It is a new hotel, we can introduce the policy on the first day of the pre-opening period. This will be a test case to see how far we can go but unfortunately the use of plastic is so prevalent in our day to day life, it is not easy to avoid,"
"Once we have learned from this experience, found the suppliers we can work with, and established reliable product sources, we will spread the practice to other properties within the group, both new and old, and we have set ourselves a target date of 2020 when all of our properties will be 'single use plastic free','' she added.
Akaryn Hotel Group owns and manages Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga, Aleenta HuaHin-Pranburi, and akyra Beach Club Phuket.
The group also operates akyra Manor Chiang Mai, akyra Thonglor Bangkok, and akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok.
"Changes are never easy. In some cases, change of habits are harder than a change of suppliers or sources. Hotel guests who are used to drinking with straws will be encouraged to drink straight from glasses and cups. Personally I have stopped using straws a long time ago and have refused the grocery plastic bags used at supermarkets," Anchalika said.
"Changes take time, it’s a process, but I believe it can be done with a commitment from everyone," she added.
Anchalika said it has been the group's mantra, from the day it opened the first hotel years ago, that it wanted to be part of the solution, not adding to the problem. "We want to leave the places where we operate as pristine and beautiful as we found it," she concluded.
The group's Pure Blue Foundation is a charitable organisation in support of marine conservation and community projects throughout Thailand.
This year, it is leading a campaign to clear trash off Thai beaches, knowing that this problem would not go away unless somebody starts doing something about it.