We are a single-use plastics free (SUP Free) ecolodge. Since our opening in January 2002, we have continuously strived to stop using plastic and become more ecologically sustainable.
Some facts. Roughly 8 billion tonnes of plastic has been generated since the 1950s – the weight of roughly a billion elephants.
Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of a truckload of plastic entering our oceans each minute.
Drink companies alone produce over 500 billion single-use plastic bottles annually.
Of all the plastic produced worldwide each year, only around 9% of these plastics get recycled. 12% are burned and the remaining 79% ends up in landfills or the environment. Source Greenpeace
If we all play our part and do our bit, we can make a difference.
But what does that mean to me as a consumer?
Plastic water bottles. Well, for starters you won’t find bottled water at our lodge. Since 2017 we have been supplying our guests their very own 800ml refillable bottle and supplying filtered water free of charge. This alone has saved more than 6,000 plastic bottles from being discarded in The Gambia over the last three years.
Something not only we but also our guests is very proud of. Currently, we are the only accommodation provider in The Gambia to offer reusable bottles and free water to all our guests!
Keeping food fresh can be an issue
Cling-film. Single-use items such as clingfilm are a difficult obstacle to overcome. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes what’s needed is to know the direction you will take and then make a start.
We did this first by looking at packed lunches for our guest’s excursions and now use tea towels bags instead of film. Based on the Swedish bread bag idea but actually, you don’t need to make the bag, simply wrap up your baguette and wash it upon its return. Added bonus is you get a napkin too!
Plastic straws. Never will you be offered a plastic straw. We have beautiful stainless steel straws which are boiled in water with a little vinegar to sterilise in-between uses. In all honesty, we have never used many straws, ever, but now we can proudly say we use zero plastic straws.
Recycling. We recycle pretty much everything. If we can’t reuse it, repurpose it or recycle it, we remove it. The water you wash your hands and shower with is reused to water our plants. And the compost we get from our toilets and kitchen resource enriches our growing areas.
Even the leaves that drop to the ground each day are collected into mulching areas which later feeds our soil for growing. This technique also means we save water too because our soil has the ability to hold moisture better.
Portioned toiletries. You won’t find those little portioned shampoos and toiletries at Footsteps either. we use soaps that are handmade in The Gambia by a women’s initiative called MyFarm. They are so good, they don’t leave your skin feeling dry and are made from Moringa an amazing natural product.
Plastic bags. Have been banned for some years now in The Gambia which helps. We have bags for life, reusable bags which we take shopping each week.
Green cleaning products
These products are now available in The Gambia so all businesses can be the change they want to see!
Each product is available as bulk buy (5-litre concentrate ) and has a smaller reusable spray bottle to decant into 😀.
Our Goals for the future.
Footsteps strive to be a pioneering hotel with our goal to become single-use plastics free while continuing to elevate the quality and the experience of our guests.
Our philosophy is focused on reducing and removing single-use plastic products and replacing remaining items with responsible and reusable alternatives such as rigorously tested biodegradable products.
We are taking steps ever nearer to closing the loop in its own circular economy within the tourism sector.