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Sarovar Hotels bans plastic at its properties pan-India. And it’s not limited to bottles only

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech during Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary at Ahmedabad announced that India would phase out single-use plastic by 2022. The earlier decision to put a nation-wide blanket ban on single-use plastic has been shelved for the time being.

While industry bodies are concerned about finding an alternative fearing loss of business, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, a leading hotel chain in India has gone a step ahead in banning single-use plastic from most of their properties across the country.

“Considering the high waste generation and water consumption trends, Sarovar started these green practices with an aim to improve the environment footprint while simultaneously improving guest experience. To make a difference for our environment and gain a competitive edge, we recently joined hands with a public charitable trust that supports sustainable tourism in partnership with Make My trip,” said Ajay Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels.

Ground Level Impact

Sarovar Hotels has banned single-use plastic and other plastic materials of daily use in the properties and replaced those with bio-degradable products.  The ban has been imposed on water bottles, cling wraps, butchery bags, bin liners, garbage bags and packaging food materials.  Besides, initiative has been taken to reuse and recycle unused tins, kettles, dustbins, boxes, metal and plastic containers / discarded towels in making planters for greenery.

Providing an alternative at its properties, Sarovar has replaced plastics with  bio-degradable shower caps, paper straws, glass bottles, wooden stirrer sticks, and  vegetables in fibre containers.

Not just plastic ban, it has also installed light sensor automation control in all public areas, F&B Outlets, Banquets to check energy consumption. In continuation of the initiative, all guest rooms are fixed with energy saver control switches and LED lamps.

Initial Hurdles

“One of the main and important challenges faced by the hotels while executing these initiatives was the resistance to switching over from a system established over the past 20 years. While some understand and adapt to change easily, other needs a push,” Bakaya told Moneycontrol.

“The core focus should be adapting and re-focusing towards sustainable tourism.  Seeing the current scenario, it has become really important to strike a balance between changing habits; continuously plan, implement, monitor actions; and course correct as needed to ensure real impact. Our guests support the change wholeheartedly,” he added.

Plans in pipeline

“Environment friendly initiatives that we have started encapsulating in the system are a positive sign of going in the right direction. Hotels are determined to give their guests personalized and customized service and catering to their changing demands. Usage of resources wisely; reduction in the consumption of water and energy; minimum waste and recycling waste; and plastic free approach are our ongoing mantras,” said Bakaya.

Not just creating an impact across the environment, this initiative is also helping the hotels save costs. Plastic bottles come with a price tag and so does all plastic packaging. Cutting that off ensures a onetime investment instead of a recurring cost. While this may not be a big enough chunk to reflect on balance sheet but five years down the line, it will.