In a press release, Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announced that all 19 Sandals and Beaches Resorts across seven Caribbean islands – including Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados and Turks Caicos – will eliminate the 21,490,800 single-use plastic straws and stirrers used across the resorts each year by November 1, 2018.
The release also states that eco-friendly paper straws will be available upon request.
According to the release, Sandals Resorts is committed to moving beyond single-use plastic. This will be done through a new partnership with Oceanic Global, a non-profit focused on providing solutions to issues impacting our oceans.
An audit will be done to determine a roadmap to the elimination of single-use plastic across Sandals resorts. The audit will be conducted in accordance with guidelines outlined in Oceanic Global’s industry-specific sustainability toolkit, The Oceanic Standard.
Following the elimination of single-use plastic straws and stirrers, Sandals Resorts International will explore opportunities to eliminate other plastic across its resorts by September 2019. The company has already made headway with the elimination of plastic laundry bags and plastic bags throughout gift shops.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Sandals Resorts International, the first all-inclusive brand to join our mission,” said Lea d’Auriol, Founder of Oceanic Global. “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,” she added.
Meanwhile, Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, has said that the company cares deeply about its commitment to preserving both marine wildlife and human health within the many islands in which it operates.
This initiative is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic waste in the Caribbean region, where the Caribbean Sea connects more than 700 islands and coastlines that draw more than 30 million visitors each year. Sandals Resorts is already invested in environmental sustainability.
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. The Sandals Foundation’s recent initiatives include distributing reusable water bottles in schools across the Caribbean to reduce the use of disposable bottles among school children, delivering reusable tote bags to supermarkets across the region, and instituting a Solid Waste Reduction Project in Jamaica’s South Coast to clean up the communities and educate residents on how to properly manage their waste.
“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,” said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.