Sandals Resorts International (SRI) announced that all 19 Sandals and Beaches Resorts across seven Caribbean islands – including Jamaica, the Bahamas, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Barbados and Turks & Caicos – will eliminate the 21,490,800 single-use plastic straws and stirrers used across the resorts each year by November 1, 2018. Eco-friendly paper straws will be available upon request.
"Love is at the crux of all Sandals Resorts, and this love extends to the oceans and communities around them," said Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International. "We care deeply about our commitment to preserving both marine wildlife and human health within the many beautiful islands we're connected to. Eliminating single-use plastic straws and stirrers is only the beginning of our journey toward helping create a plastic-free sea in the region we call home," he added.
This initiative is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic waste in the Caribbean region, where the Caribbean Sea connects more than 700 islands and coastlines that draw more than 30 million visitors each year. Sandals Resorts is already invested in environmental sustainability. The Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International, has intensified efforts to reduce plastic pollution in the Caribbean and educate communities on the dangers plastic pollution poses to the environment, health and tourism. The Sandals Foundation's recent initiatives include distributing reusable water bottles in schools across the Caribbean to reduce the use of disposable bottles among school children, delivering reusable tote bags to supermarkets across the region, and instituting a Solid Waste Reduction Project in Jamaica's South Coast to clean up the communities and educate residents on how to properly manage their waste.
"Plastic pollution is one of the leading environmental issues in the Caribbean. Sandals and Beaches Resorts are rooted in oceanfront communities, and we are committed to protecting our marine wildlife, developing effective conservation practices, and teaching the next generation the importance of caring for their communities," said Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation.
Sandals and Beaches Resorts has long held environmental sustainability as part of its core mission, earning its place as the only hotel chain in the world to have all of its resorts certified by the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification program, with nine resorts currently holding Master Certification. Each resort has a dedicated Environment, Health and Safety Manager charged with implementing and managing sustainable programs, including but not limited to the installation of solar water heaters, the retro-fitting of lighting and equipment for better energy performance and efficiency, and the composting of food waste.
To learn more about Sandals Resorts Internationals' commitment to sustainability, visit https://www.sandals.com/all-inclusive/eco-friendly-resorts/.