Plastic-Free July: Sands Makes Progress in Reducing Plastic Use
The month of July has been designated Plastic-Free July to raise awareness about the environmental impact of plastic waste and pollution, particularly single-use plastic items, on neighborhoods, communities and oceans. While the July observance aims to highlight the negative impact of plastic on the environment throughout the month, reducing plastic use is one of Sands’ key environmental priorities that is addressed through a detailed five-point process.
Elements of Sands’ approach to reduce high-volume plastic items, single-use disposables and packaging at its integrated resorts include:
Eliminate: Sands aims to reduce plastic use by phasing out single-use products and packaging, such as plastic bags, straws and beverage stirrers, where possible. At Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Sands redesigned meal pickup flow at the Halal station to reduce disposables and integrate reusable plates and bowls in Team Member dining rooms, a program that puts the property on track to eliminate the use of one million disposable bowls and plates every year. The resort also has replaced plastic amenities such as combs, toothbrushes and hairbrushes with ones made of wood or bamboo. At its properties in Macao, Sands is reviewing and testing use of larger bathroom amenity bottles to eliminate single-use bathing supplies provided to guests.
Reuse: Sands also works to employ reusable products and packaging where possible to reduce plastic use. Across the company, resorts have replaced single-use plastic laundry bags with reusable fabric bags for Team Members, and guest laundry is delivered in reusable baskets. Marina Bay Sands provides vendors with reusable food-transfer totes to avoid cardboard and plastic foam boxes. Looking ahead, Sands is conducting pilot programs with glass and refillable water bottles to replace single-use plastic bottles in some areas.
Replace: The company is transitioning to recyclable and recycled materials and packaging in a number of areas. Sands is aiming for use of 100%-recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) Sands-branded water bottles across all properties and is testing various recycled-material products. The company also is working to replace plastic containers and bags with biodegradable alternatives. Sands China has replaced plastic packaging for guest slippers with recycled paper wrap.
Recycle: Sands is increasing recycling of single-use products and packaging at its resorts by encouraging upstream segregation of materials through Team Member training and incentives for material separation and recycling. Sands also conducts regular performance reviews and waste audits to ensure recyclable material is captured from the waste stream properly.
Research and Collaborate: Sands uses intelligence, education and partnerships to improve the impact of its overall efforts. The company has conducted life cycle analysis on plastics and plastic alternatives to identify guidance on selecting low-impact materials and is running trials of dissolvable liners to eliminate plastic bags for food waste collection. Sands China also worked with a local Macao supplier to procure sustainable food takeaway containers and is collaborating with the University Saint Joseph in Macao on a project that focuses on the role of wetland ecosystems in addressing plastic pollution.
“We’ve accelerated our focus on plastics and packaging over the past few years by grounding our strategy to focus on the most environmentally preferred solutions first and striving to reduce problematic products such as single-use plastic bags and straws,” said Katarina Tesarova, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer. “In addition, we continue to study the latest practices, technology and materials to continually make progress in reducing plastic use and waste as a top priority for Sands ECO360.”
To learn more about Sands’ commitment to reducing the impact of plastic waste in the communities where it operates, download the 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.