In recent years there has been a push for people to go plastic free, the pitfalls of our modern lifestyles have been forced kicking and screaming into the spotlight, driven mostly it seems by the devil that is social media. We have had statements from young and old alike, coupled with some truly disturbing photos and videos of the effects we are having on our planet and the wildlife that live on it. 

Yet still there is debate. Mostly it seems there is an agreement, that although our lifestyles are no longer sustainable, science and technology is not yet advanced enough to allow us to continue living the lavish and comfortable lives we have grown used to without the unpleasant and unsustainable side effects. Every solution seems to come with new, often even more serious problems and many companies are seeing sustainability targets purely as a marketing opportunity. Take electric cars for example, making and selling electric cars enables companies to state that they are producing cars that are well within the emissions regulations. Which is great. But the cars have a much shorter driving range than standard petrol or diesel cars and run on batteries which take ages to re-charge. Also, these batteries have a very limited lifespan and can not yet be recycled. So, they must sit in a landfill and leak chemicals for the rest of eternity. I’m not sure that is the answer.

Anyway, this got me thinking. There is a point to this rambling I promise. What parts of our life style is it possible to be more sustainable without too much sacrifice? Would it be possible with holidays? Well some things it is difficult to change. Flights for example. That is a lot of aviation fuel being burned, but improvements are being made. When the Airbus A380 first came out a few years ago Airbus announced that it consumed less fuel per person than a Ford Fiesta. Of course, that was a few years ago now, but it shows that actually they are working on it. Mass travel could be the answer. Next, we have the hotel. 

Over the last year I have noticed several hotels here in Khao Lak that are encouraging customers to re-fill water bottles rather than throwing them away. They are also only providing drinking straws on request to further their quest to be plastic free. Some hotels are even encouraging customers to join their staff on weekly beach cleans. So there seems to be positive steps being taken there.

Plastic Free Tours in Khao Lak

So that leads us on to the holiday activities. The seasoning that makes the holiday memorable. Take for example the popular speedboat tours from Khao Lak, doing snorkeling trips to the beautiful Similan and Surin islands. On an average trip throughout the day each customer drinks at least 3 small bottles of water and 3 cans of soft drink. Most boats carry between 35-45 people each day. This adds up to a staggering 3-5 large black bags full of rubbish each day from each boat. When you consider that there are probably over 100 boats operating each day just in this area, that is a lot!

Say No To Plastic

Now of course on our tours we never had nearly that much. But hey, every little helps so we are now going plastic free. We have now replaced all our single use plastic bottles with aluminum, re-usable bottles. That can be refilled and used throughout the trip. Our empty soft drink cans are collected and sent away for recycling. We wash and re-use our refreshing cold towels, so we have now reduced the single use plastic on the boat to almost nothing. 

“Plastic Free eco-tourism in Khao Lak”

Unfortunately, we cannot claim that there we are 100% single use plastic free because of course everything we buy, whether it is cans of Coke or new masks and fins, all seems to come wrapped in several layers of plastic. But we can claim that we do our best to reduce and re-use whenever we can. We are also continuing in our efforts to find solutions to all the little niggles.

Now you might say “Oh it is all well and good re-using things and being plastic free, but they still need to be cleaned. What about the harmful chemicals and the waste water?” And of course, that is a very valid question. One that we thought about long and hard. Each day we have to wash equipment, plates, cutlery and cool towels. Each day we use cleaning products made from 100% natural materials, mostly lime leaves so far as I can tell. So far, I think we are doing fairly well.

Of course I know that our efforts to become plastic free may just be a drop in the ocean, but after all isn’t that how it all starts? With just a single first drop? More importantly I think this shows that there are things we can all do to help improve the situation without too much effort or sacrifice. Sometimes we just have to stop and think.

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