Singapore’s Eco-hotel: Ibis Bencoolen bans plastic bottles

One of Singapore’s leading hotels has taken the plunge and stopped all use of plastic bottles for guest drinking water, reports Mallika Naguran.

Singapore, March 26, 2015. Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen has been working on a plan to reduce waste, plastic consumption, and save water. Part of this is a move by the 538-room Accor Group hotel to stop providing regular plastic mineral bottled water, and instead offer water from a special filtration system as part of what it calls its Eco Clean program.

Guests that opt for recycled bottles get a handmade Eco pen in appreciation of their gestureThe result? Less plastic and water used, more funds for charities that Accor supports, and a unique pen for guests to use.

“My team brainstormed and arrived at this idea of involving guests in this program,” explains Pierre de Montgrand, General Manager of Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen.

de Montgrand says the use of glass bottles has prevented the hotel from throwing away around 6,000 single-use plastic mineral water bottles a year -  equivalent to 700kg of plastic waste per annum that could end up in landfills or Singapore’s waterways. “I am pleased that our hotel is able to contribute towards Singapore’s sustainability direction,” he says.

The hotel’s initiative is set against the context of the tourism industry’s typical  contribution to ever increasing wastage and resource exploitation. Typical areas are waste in the form of newspapers, magazines, office papers, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, aluminium cans, plastic containers, printer toner cartridges, food and water waste. Plus, lots of precious water and energy resources.

Beyond the Bottle

The Ibis’s Eco Clean goes beyond just recycling drinking bottles. It is a holistic program that starts with guests opting for Eco Clean at check in. This means housekeepers will tidy the room, make the beds and clear the bins, but cleaning chemicals will be used sparingly, linen and amenities will only be changed and replenished as requested.

The Ibis Bencoolen has moved completely to recyclable glass drinks bottles instead of disposable plasticAs a reward, guests are provided with the Ibis’s free and unlimited refills of sparkling or still water served in a re-usable borosilicate glass bottle. Ibis Bencoolen works with a local firm, Dr. WHO Waterworks Pte Ltd (Dr. WHO), a leading manufacturer and distributors in the bottled water industry for the complete bottling, sterilising and refilling system.

Cost savings from the Eco Clean program are then channelled towards supporting the livelihoods of the poor in Indonesia through the “Yayasan Peduli Tunas Bangsa” foundation sponsored by Accor Group.

With the funding received, a workshop for disadvantaged mothers has been set up to make pens hand rolled from recycled newspapers. These Eco-Pens are then purchased by Ibis Bencoolen for guests’ use, and left in their rooms.

“This completes the Eco Clean circular concept that starts with guests’ participation and ends with them seeing the fruits of our labour,” adds de Montgrand. And if that isn’t enough, guests can borrow bamboo bikes from the hotel to reduce the negative environmental impact of taking taxis and buses around Singapore.

The Eco Clean program is part of the Accor Group PLANET 21 initiative. This aims to bring sustainable development and a more responsible hotel operation worldwide.

Details from the Ibis Bencoolen – http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-6657-ibis-singapore-on-bencoolen/index.shtml