“Current use of plastic is simply not sustainable,” said Archie Keswick, General Manager of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel. “5.2 million plastic bottles are disposed of in Hong Kong daily, estimated by Green Earth to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools. We were using over 500 bottles a day.” The luxury hotel in the heart of the business and fashion districts has been implementing a range of measures to improve its ecological footprint for some time now as part of a long-term strategy, which includes working to raise awareness among its guests - a Christmas tree made of its daily consumption of 500 plastic bottles was installed in the lobby last December as a way of highlighting the staggering amount sent each day to landfill – and it has now partnered with Swedish fresh water specialist Nordaq FRESH to introduce its own in-house, filtered and purified bottled water.
Filtering and bottling on-site will not only eliminate the need for single use bottles, but will reduce the carbon emissions generated by the traditional Hong Kong hotel approach of transporting bottled mineral water from Europe. Served in reusable glass bottles in guestrooms and suites, as well as in the hotel’s bars, restaurants and spa, guests will also be encouraged to fill reusable ‘Grab & Go’ bottles at the lobby’s complimentary ‘central oasis’. And next year the hotel will also work towards becoming plastic-free in its kitchen, with management putting pressure on business suppliers to work sustainably.
Another eco-friendly partnership set to be launched by the hotel this month sees The Landmark joining forces with NGO Rooftop Republic. The social enterprise promotes urban farming and sustainable living in Hong Kong, and will be creating a roof garden for growing fresh herbs, flowers and vegetables. The organic waste, usually disposed of in landfill, will be used as fertilizer, and a rooftop beehive will be installed to provide honey as well as wax for candles.
These latest sustainability initiatives build upon the hotel’s earlier projects. After implementing a Green Purchasing Policy, the hotel was the first to ban plastic straws and use eco-friendly bamboo alternatives, and at its Amber restaurant and MO Bar sustainable seafood is served, with abalone shells also recycled and given to local jewellery brand niin to use in its designs. Chemical-free toiletries in biodegradable containers are used at The Spa and Fitness Centre, and each guest room is stocked with sustainably sourced and chemical-free products from Vietnamese brand Cochine Saigon, as well as an eco-friendly wheat toothbrush. PDT, the hotel’s newest bar, features reconditioned and recyclable furnishings, Low-VOC paint and LED lighting are used for guestrooms and suites, and eco-friendly detergent is stocked in the laundry.
As well as adopting measures to improve its own ecological footprint, the hotel also works with a number of other organizations to promote social and ecological awareness. These including Clean the World, a US-based social enterprise that distributes recycled soap and hygiene products from more than 5,000 hotels and resorts to children and families in countries with a high death rate due pneumonia and cholera, two of the top killers of children under five. And since 2009, Clean the World has distributed more than 41 million bars of soap to 118 countries.
The Landmark has also launched a Living Well Partnership, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital Foundation’s Healthy Lifestyle Fund, that is focused on raising awareness and funds for four key areas: health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, responsible production and consumption, and reducing hunger. The Healthy Lifestyle Fund works with local charities the J Life Foundation and the Chicken Soup Foundation to provide wellness programs for those in need, including nutritious vegetarian meal boxes, healthy lunches for underprivileged schools, and live better workshops.