From smarter energy to less plastic, Caribbean resorts go green
At home in the United States, Kerrie Springer takes pride in being environmentally conscious. So when she booked a week's getaway at the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort in Aruba, she choose the “green stay” option, agreeing to reuse her sheets and towels rather than have them changed each day.
“You don't do that at home, so why do it at a resort?” asked Springer, who visited the resort with her husband.
“Water in the Caribbean is precious, so why use it if you do not have to?”
Environmentally friendly tourism options – available at a growing string of hotels across the Caribbean – are proving popular with tourists, helping curb climate change and waste, industry groups say.
The Bucuti and Tara resort last August was certified as 100 percent carbon neutral by Natural Capital Partners, an international organization that works to promote low-carbon sustainable development.
The resort, established by Austrian Ewald Biemans in 1987, after he moved to Aruba in the 1960s, is known for its use of renewable energy, smaller portions at meal time to reduce food waste, and reusable containers for everything from ketchup to shampoo.
Those kinds of changes are catching on around the Caribbean, with a range of hotels and resorts eliminating single-use plastics such as straws, water bottles and shampoo containers.
Others are switching to more efficient air conditioners and refrigerators and installing LED lights, officials say.
The push is part of an ongoing effort to make tourism in the region greener, said Amanda Charles, a sustainable tourism development specialist at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).