Sudima Hotels & Resorts has announced it will phase out all single-use plastic products by 2020.
Sudima, which operates four hotels in New Zealand, will work with its suppliers to source alternative packaging options for their amenities which include items such as soap wrapping, drink stirrers, coffee cups and shampoo and conditioner bottles.
Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, owner and CEO of Sudima Hotels & Resorts, said the move was not only good for business but good for New Zealand as a whole.
"We are looking forward to putting these positive changes into action – we have a strong belief that success is shaped by ethical means and this is certainly another step towards being an even more sustainable group. It is not only good for our business but New Zealand as a whole. This is just one of the ways we are taking a strategic approach within our four core pillars of community, diversity, sustainability and of course our staff," Jhunjhnuwala said.
Sudima has already taken its first steps to being single-use plastic free by 2020 when they recently became the first group of hotels in the country to discontinue using plastic straws.
The move is estimated to eliminate 52,000 straws each year from going to landfill. The company instead offers paper straws to guests on request.
Sudima isn't the only hotel chain to take this step, with the Hilton also recently announcing a company-wide plastic straw ban to fight ocean pollution and retain fish sustainability. In 2017, Hilton Auckland alone used 77,000 plastic straws.
Vedika Jhunjhnuwala, Sudima Hotels & Resorts environment and social advocate, called on the rest of the hotel industry to follow suit, and hoped that Sudima could set an example in establishing an industry benchmark for eliminating single-use plastics.
"Our journey is not just about Sudima. We are calling on the industry to collaborate with us and work together. We are keen to establish what the industry benchmark looks like for reducing or eliminating single-use plastics. It can be overwhelming when thinking about making a big change like this one, but by setting a target and making small changes every day, we hope to set an example so that other organisations will follow suit," Jhunjhnuwala said.
"Imagine what our world would be like if we all chose to reduce or ban single-use plastics. At Sudima, we abide by the philosophy of leaving the world in a better position than we found it and aim to apply this to the operation of our hotels so it's only natural that we set this goal for ourselves."
Noel Jhinku, a trustee of Our Seas Our Future (OSOF), a registered New Zealand charity, applauded the company for their commitment to making the environment a better place.
"It is encouraging to see businesses take a lead in addressing the environmental issues associated with single-use plastics. This level of corporate responsibility will go a long way in encouraging behaviour change away from the unnecessary use of single-use plastics," Jhinku said.
Sudima is already involved in several sustainability initiatives, including becoming the first hotel to be carboNZero certified in 2014.
On average, Sudima Auckland Airport alone annually reduces its LPG use by 67 per cent, natural gas use by 14 per cent and reduced waste by 24 per cent.
Vedika Jhunjhnuwala added that, "all areas of operations will need to be looked at – everything from how we do our dry cleaning, to what food we order and how it's packaged."
Common single-use plastic items in hotels:
• Drink stirrers
• Water bottles, soft drink bottles
• Shampoo, conditioner, bodywash bottles
• Wrapping on food items
• Coffee cups & lids
• Soap wrapping
• Drinking cups
• Bin liners
• Milk containers