News | June 2, 2023
World Environment Day 2023: Sands Highlights Progress in Reducing Reliance on Plastic and Packaging
The United Nations (UN) World Environment Day 2023 is June 5, and this year’s emphasis is on creating solutions to address plastic pollution, which has become pervasive across the globe.
The UN estimates that more than 400 million tons of plastic are produced every year worldwide, with less than 10% recycled. A significant portion of plastic waste pollutes ecosystems, harming wildlife and presenting risks to human health.
Because of Sands’ potential to create measurable change by addressing the use of plastics and packaging its operations, the company has established a four-part strategy to eliminate, reuse, replace and recycle these materials. Sands is sharing highlights of this strategy to mark World Environment Day 2023.
Replacing Plastic Tableware in Team Member Dining Rooms
Team Member dining rooms are among the largest restaurants on Sands’ properties and where the company has made significant headway to reduce plastic use and waste. Sands’ primary focus is to replace single-use cups, utensils and condiment packets with more sustainable and reusable alternatives. After completing a successful pilot to remove the last remaining disposable plates and bowls at the Halal counter in the Team Member dining room at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the resort has fully integrated a new meal pickup process utilizing reusable tableware, eliminating one million disposables annually.
Adding Reusable Containers and Amenities for Guest Rooms
Sands’ plastic reduction efforts also extend to guest rooms. In 2022, the company continued trial use of refillable amenity bottles at various properties, testing the right formats to marry guest preference and luxury feel with sustainable solutions.
Last year, Sands China transitioned to bulk bottles for shampoo, body wash and conditioners at the Conrad® Macao and began trials of wall-mounted bathroom amenities at The Venetian Macao, The Londoner Macao® and The Parisian Macao®. Other initiatives by Sands China and Marina Bay Sands have included eliminating secondary packaging and materials in guest rooms; employing high-quality, multi-use combs, razors and toothbrushes; and using plant-based wrapping on bathroom amenities as needed.
Eliminating Single Use Plastic Bags
Plastic bags are one of top-10 single-use product categories Sands is targeting for elimination. In addition, they are especially harmful to ocean life, as well as recycling systems, if improperly handled. Both Sands China and Marina Bay Sands have taken steps to reduce the use of plastic bags, such as installing umbrella-drying stations to eliminate plastic covers.
Sands China also established the One Bin Challenge, which encourages Team Members to eliminate individual trash containers in offices and cubicles. Consolidating trash into receptacles in common areas is eliminating more than 300,000 plastic bags annually.
Transitioning to Recycled Water Bottles for Guests
One of Sands’ key goals in this area is to transition 100% of Sands-branded water bottles to be reusable or made from sustainable materials by 2025, which Sands has been working on for a few years.
After testing the viability of using refillable glass water bottles in hotel suites at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the resort has since transitioned to recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) water bottles, a change that stemmed from extensive analysis with a thought leader and material engineer to determine the most sustainable choice for Singapore.
Sands’ global sustainability team continues to explore circular water bottling systems for hotel rooms, including evaluating successful approaches used by various international companies with standards similar to Sands. However, Sands’ efforts to date have resulted in 80% of its branded water bottles incorporating sustainable solutions in 2022.
“Reducing plastic and packaging is one of our five core priorities under the Sands ECO360 global sustainability program,” said Katarina Tesarova, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer. “We apply multi-faceted, research-based strategies to continually reduce our reliance on these materials. World Environment Day 2023 provides us with an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to protecting the ecosystems in our regions from the harms of plastic in the environment.”
To learn more about Sands’ initiatives to reduce reliance on plastic and packaging, read the 2022 ESG Report here: https://www.sands.com/2022-environmental-social-and-governance-report/