To reduce plastic pollution, the Victorian Government is hoping for the ban of specific single-use plastics from sale or supply across the state from February 1st, 2023. This will see items such as straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers, expanded polystyrene food and drink containers and cotton bud sticks no longer available for single use in Victoria.
Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is working hard to do its bit. Proudly ISO 14001:2015 certified, the international standard is one of the world’s leading sustainability certification programmes for the tourism and travel industry, outlining the requirements for an effective environmental management system.
What have we achieved to date? In mid-2019 our hotel looked to reduce its plastic consumption by removing single-use plastic items such as cutleries, food containers and coffee cups, replacing all the items with compostable plant based packaging items. Working in partnership with City West Water and Choose Tap, we have removed complimentary plastic bottles of water from our guest rooms. Our guests are now filled with the knowledge of the benefits of drinking the best tap water in the world – Melbourne tap water!
We looked to further reduce our hotel’s reliance on plastic by changing our kitchens to use biodegradable cling films and gloves. These items break down in landfill in just a few years instead of the 500 years that regular plastic takes. We are incredibly proud of the results of the hotel’s food and waste recycling program, generating 162.2 tonnes of food waste to become compost for use by local farmers. Sofitel Melbourne on Collins has also been working with Soap Aid, a not-for-profit organisation committed to saving children’s lives through improved hygiene, while positively impacting the environment. During 2020 the hotel removed all of its single use plastic bottles and introduced glass bottles instead – while our signature restaurant No35 uses a glass crusher to break down glass and reduce the volume of waste being sent for recycling.
In 2021 the hotel went paperless for its stock ordering and receiving, and our Human Resources team also went paperless for issuing contracts and notifications. We reduced paper usage further by providing guest room tablets in each room and introducing a digital PressReader to replace the use of newspapers and magazines in the hotel. In late 2021 through to 2022 we begun the refurbishment of our guest rooms, where we specifically required the contractors to inform us of their waste management process and to see what goods and materials could be salvageable and reusable. The contractors were able to confirm that a total of 88% of the materials from the guest rooms were either donated or recycled.
In early 2022 we began recycling our textiles through Textile Recyclers Australia, one of the few hotels to use this initiative, where duvets, pillows, older uniforms and sheets are either donated or broken down into recycled fibres. In mid-2022 we began installing bulk-use amenities in all of the guest rooms to replace the single-use bathroom amenities, which has seen a dramatic drop in the volume of waste leaving guest rooms each day. We also began trialling the use of a WasteMaster system, which tracks and breaks down our organic waste using a dry compost process that reduces the volume of waste by 80% and produces a nutrient rich soil on site that can be converted into biofuel. We have also been recycling our coffee pods, cartridges, metal scraps, used oil, old carpet, cardboard, paper, e-waste, plastic, metal… and the list goes on. Phew! We’re proud of how much we have been able to reduce, re-use, re-think and re-cycle at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins – but there is always more to do, and we’re up to the challenge!
It’s great to see so many other companies, organisations, businesses and individuals move forward to a more sustainable world. Events like National Organic Week, held from Monday 12th to Sunday 18 th September only add to the positivity. A week of targeted media and locally-held activities, National Organic Week Australia (NOW) is designed to increase awareness of the benefits of organic products and farming production systems – and accelerate the uptake of these in the wider Australian community and environment.
‘As consumers, you want food you can recognise and trust,’ says passionate Greek-Australian landscape architect and Ambassador of National Organic Week, Costa Georgiadis. ‘Buying organic products supports food safety, health, good nutrition and the environment. Products that carry the logo of an accredited organic certification body are guaranteed to be genuine organic. You’ll taste the difference, feel the difference and most importantly, you’ll make a difference’
Here’s to creating a healthier and more sustainable world together.
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