A local vendor in Thailand’s southern province Krabi, has teamed up with the luxury beach villa ‘Banyan Tree Krabi’ to help guests reduce their carbon foot print from the moment they arrive.
Rather than receiving the usual ‘welcome pack’ at check in, guests are presented with a novel tote bag that was created by local artisans using upcycled waste washed up on local beaches as part of the “Souvenirs from the sea” project.
The vendor scours the shores around Krabi each morning and picks up debris from the shores that is cleaned, dried and modified into safe, colourful and eco-friendly souvenirs for tourists in a process known as ‘upcycling’.
“There’s a fine line between recycling and upcycling,” explained Banyan Tree’s sustainability manager Thepsuda Loyjiw.
“Recycling is when we save materials such as glass and plastic for general reuse, while upcycling is the art of taking waste products and reinventing them as something else.”
The project comes at a time when southern Thailand’s coastal environment is under the spotlight. Several islands and beaches, such as Maya Bay have been closed in recent years due to the impact of tourism on coral and marine life.
In recent years, a series of laws have been passed to protect Thailand’s famed sapphire seas and palm-fringed beaches, including bans on smoking, the feeding of marine life, wastewater dumping, fishing or anchoring on coral reefs.
Marine scientist, Tipwimon Rattanawongwan, who is also the new sustainability coordinator at the resort said guests often double take when they receive the pouch.
“But this immediately gives their Banyan Tree host an opportunity to explain about our sustainability programs and eco-friendly policies,” Rattanawongwan said.
“Our guests feel they are doing their bit, that they too are invested in the protection and conservation of the local environment.”