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Plastic free month

July 17, 2023 - This July, we’re embracing Plastic Free Month by celebrating our core sustainability wins that, over the years, have formed part of our ongoing journey towards Plastic Freedom. We also look ahead with renewed vigor at what’s next.

Part of the solution to plastic pollution

Launched in 2011, Plastic Free July is a global movement encouraging people and businesses to become part of the solution to plastic pollution. According to their website, the movement has inspired over 100 million participants in 190 countries to make lifestyle changes that benefit our planet.

We’re approaching Plastic Free July in the same way as we look after our guests, through our three pillars of sustainability, wellness, and crafted experiences. When you stay at a Six Senses property, you’re already contributing to sustainability funds that benefit the local environment, including projects on the ground that clean up plastic waste to help keep our land, oceans, and wildlife healthy.

Inside our properties, our commitment to breaking free from plastic within our daily operations remains at the forefront of our planning and initiatives, and we continue to innovate in the fight against single-use and virgin plastics, kickstarting new and creative solutions, one day, one guest, one story at a time.  

Our Plastic Free 2022 results below show that we are on track to reduce exposure to plastics for guests and communities, being mindful of both the wellness and the wildlife impacts.

“Six Senses committed to the intentionally over-ambitious goal of eliminating plastic from its hotel and spa operations by end-2022, going beyond single-use plastic and packaging and researching every plastic-free possibility,” says Jeff Smith, VP of Sustainability. “This goes far beyond guest amenities into researching alternatives to packaging and furniture. Any and all innovative ideas are welcome!”

Small steps, big difference

This year’s Plastic Free July campaign theme, ‘small steps, big difference’, resonates with us as we look back at our plastic-free events timeline. Since the launch of our brand, we’ve been committed to eliminating single-use and virgin plastic. Let’s start at the very beginning:

  • When we first started in 1995, we introduced refillable ceramic dispensers for shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel in guest rooms.
  • In 2003, we introduced drinking water production and reusable glass bottling facilities at every resort. The result: around 1.8 million fewer plastic bottles are in circulation every year.
  • In 2016, we eliminated plastic straws, replacing them with paper, bamboo, or lemongrass.
  • In 2017, we launched Earth Lab, a dedicated place where guests and hosts can learn handy life hacks, such as making do-it-yourself compost, chemical-free detergent, or lip balm using homegrown and organic herbs. All in plastic-free packaging, of course!
  • In 2019, we launched our Supplier Take Back and Return Program, introducing a circular delivery model, which eliminated 29,497 unnecessary plastic packaging items.
  • In 2020, all bathroom amenities switched to plastic-free packaging, including toothpaste kits, hair essentials and more.
  • In 2021, we eliminated all plastic stickers, removing approx. 234,428 items from annual circulation.
  • In 2022, we removed all plastic coffee sachets, saving approx. 33,215 pods from landfill.
  • This year, we’re removing all single-use plastic egg packaging. To date, 94 percent of our resorts receive eggs in plastic-free packaging.

Zero waste, plastic free: what’s next?

Never content to rest on our laurels and presume we have ticked all the boxes, the focus of our attention has turned to removing the rest. Following a resort-wide inventory in 2019, we are using four methods to tackle the remaining plastic: circularity through supplier engagement, zero waste through better operational practices, reduction of unnecessary plastic items, and switching to natural materials wherever possible. As we refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle, we continue to journey ever closer to zero plastic across all Six Senses resorts.

We’re delighted to announce that our targeted elimination of single-use and virgin plastic has reduced our remaining plastic consumption by 68 percent between 2019 and year-end 2022. We have also identified plastic-free solutions to over 80 commonly found hotel items, and we look forward to continuing our ambitious goal of eliminating plastic from all our hotel and spa operations.

Further together

As one of the first signatories of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by the UN Environment
Program and UN World Tourism Organization, we’re not just passionate about sustainability; we want to lead the way for the hospitality industry and unite the tourism sector behind a common vision that addresses the root causes of plastic pollution by shifting towards an entire circular economy of plastics.

The first annual report has just been published, summarizing the progress made by GTPI signatories
and highlighting how Six Senses is meeting its commitments. The results were disclosed in
Paris in the presence of heads of delegations of member states and several members of the New
Plastics Economy Global Commitment and Global Tourism Plastics Initiative networks.

This way, Six Senses is contributing to future frameworks around the management of plastic waste.

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