Myanmar hotel chooses planet over plastic
On the 4th and 5th of August (2018), 16 people from Inle Princess Resort sat around a table with Sarah from PFC and discussed plastic issues and analysing what they could do to better protect the incredible lake outside their door.
Inle Princess nestles in a small inlet of the Inle Lake biosphere reserve. It’s an incredible lake full of amazing biodiversity and generations of families who’ve lived and farmed in this magical place.
The hotel is one piece of a larger puzzle and the passion of Chairwoman Yin Myo Su that includes Inle Heritage Hospitality School and newly-built Bamboo School.
“I feel like this hotel has a very real chance to become one of the first zero-waste hotels in the region” said Sarah “Already they have a waste water wetland system in place, composting and organic garden and local micro industries that focus on recycling and natural products.”
To define “zero waste” isn’t to say 100% waste free, it is to divert at least 90% of waste from landfill. In a location as remote as Nyaung Shwe, there is not landfill, so waste management is of critical importance.
“Inle Lake is like our parents. And when our mother and father get sick, we need to cure them,” said U Myo Myint, a lakeside dweller who has switched to organic farming. “But we still have time to heal this place. We still have hope.”
Quoted in an interview with GlobalPost a few years ago.
In the workshop sessions, talk of feeling connected to the lake, really caring about the wildlife and especially the importance of the birdlife to the lake and themselves, were frequent throughout the two days.
With Sarah’s help they were able to identify the biggest sources of plastic coming into the hotel, come up with a strategic plan and set out milestones to achieve their plastic free and low waste goals.
When those 16 participants were asked at the time “who would like to be on the green team?”, they confidently replied “well, all of us”. Since then they have spread the word and run 12 further trainings in Burmese, meaning that now 280 staff of the various hotels and schools have dedicated time to learning and being part of the solution.
Here are just a few of the changes they’ve already implemented (the list is really long so it’s just a sample!):
- Replace sugar sachets with refillable containers with a sealed lid
- Extra containers in the kitchen to reduce need for plastic bags and wrap
- Separate bins for rooms and public areas to help educate on the waste issue
- Regulate air-conditioning temperature to save electricity
- No plastic at all from market shopping
- Replace all packaged tea and coffee for bulk and loose tea and coffee and even noodles for the staff meals removed packaged noodles for fresh meals
- Exchanged plastic pens in guest rooms for pencils