Alila’s four resorts in Bali have broken new ground by launching a ‘Zero Waste to Landfill Project’. Marvellously, teams at the hotels are using new technologies not only to process trash for the hotels but also the local community, helping to reducing both the company’s and the island’s impact on the environment.
Tropical island beaches are seen by many as the ultimate for an escapist destination, but today the experience is often ruined by rubbish arriving by land and sea. This is nowhere more true than in Bali, where many landfills are overflowing and a whole new way of engaging with waste is required. Most hotels send out their staff in the mornings to clean up before guests wake up, but this just treats the symptoms, not the causes.
Alila’s new approach tackles waste at its source and transforms rubbish into useful resources. Waste plastics are collected and converted into gasoline for use in hotel lamps. Organic waste is composted and used to fertilise new market gardens around the hotels which present additional employment opportunities for locals. Cardboard is being mulched in to the organic gardens, paper is being recycled and turned in to other paper products, glass is being crushed and used in cement building blocks and drinking water is being made on site by treating tap water and bottling it in their own glass bottles.
At Alila Manggis, a secluded seaside resort on the east of the island, these operations are rolled out so that waste is bought from local villages by weight. This offers new income streams and creates work for anyone prepared to head out and collect rubbish. Telling this story is helping to shift attitudes both inside and outside of the hotel too, empowering people to engage with the problem and become a part of the solution.
Alila’s game changing approach to waste has taken a problem and turned it into an opportunity, fresh thinking that demonstrates how hotels can save money and positively impact the race for a more sustainable planet. As Heywood says: ‘As a business we generate waste, but if we can reuse it and dispose of it in a way that will benefit the community, the environment and society in general it’s not only the right ethical direction, but a way that tourism can benefit the world at large.’