Did you know that a weeklong vacation at our resort is exponentially healthier for the planet than even staying at home for a week?
In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2021, we are removing the mystery of how carbon neutrality delivers a guilt-free, fulfilling vacation. Earth Day is the world’s most celebrated civic holiday with one billion people participating in it from 192 countries. Keep reading to learn about the five days of opportunities for guests to join in the celebration of this year’s theme, Restore Our EarthTM.
“Our guests should expect that we not only think of every detail of a memorable vacation, but to also think of the safety and sustainability behind every detail so their stay is happy, healthy and guiltfree" shares Ewald Biemans, Owner/CEO of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort and award-winning environmentalist.
Our guests are environmental champions while on vacation
How does sustainability look different than traditional vacationing or even traditional living at home? Bucuti & Tara shares a glimpse revealing it does not require sacrificing any component of a sophisticated vacation experience.
Sophisticated, sustainable facilities
Built to elite LEED® Gold standards, our accommodations are sleekly designed from sustainable and often repurposed construction materials that are safe and non-toxic. With our resort’s tropical location, air-conditioning is in demand. By using a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air-conditioning system versus traditional central air, air-conditioning is activated only where needed and sensors power it down if balcony doors are left open or rooms aren’t occupied.
Sourcing artwork and entertainment locally is not only Earth-friendly, but also community-friendly. Our resort artwork is proudly procured on island. Aruba’s internationally acclaimed artist Elisa LeJuez’s signature, colorful compositions provoke deep thinking and inspire moods as featured globally by The New York Times, Time Magazine and National Geographic Traveler.
Our guests arrive to a completely paperless, touch-free check-in and depart with a digital receipt. Napkins are cloth, cleaning towels replace paper towels, menus are on tablets or via QR code on mobile devices, and there are no paper coffee cups or single-use place settings. On its way to being 100% paperless, our latest sustainability initiative is helping to propel the resort to carbon negative status.
According to the EPA, energy and heating contribute 25% to global emissions. Bucuti & Tara pulls 25% of our power from island wind and solar farms plus we provide another 20% of our own power from our private solar panels. For example, powering a resort accommodation only generates 15 pounds of CO2 emissions per room night versus traditional fossil fuel-only electricity-generating 21 pounds of CO2 emissions.
Our resort’s use of safe, green cleaning chemicals means staff and guests are never exposed to harsh, toxic chemicals. As part of our COVID-19 safety protocols, rooms are then triple sanitized with the addition of ionizer and UVC germicidal lamps to completely kill germs, viruses and bacteria. The result is every room is cleaned to the same sanitation level as an operating room.
Sheets and towels are laundered using a double-up process that eliminates the amount of water usage and with an ozone injection, the drying time is decreased by 33%.
Bulk, streamlined purchasing.
Instead of society’s current online purchasing mentality resulting in multiple shipments from one order (think: Amazon orders), bulk purchases and whenever possible, local purchasing prevail. For example, our guests enjoy locally made products such as Aruba Aloe toiletries. By eliminating travel-size toiletries and providing refillable shampoo, conditioner and soap dispensers in bathrooms, annually 91,000 single-use plastic toiletry bottles are never used and therefore never produced, transported or thrown away.
Dining is another highly efficient experience that satiates our guests at the Elements, which is the Caribbean’s No. 1 Restaurant (USA TODAY, 2020) while caring for the planet. Our guests can start the day sipping fair-trade, safely procured coffee with a net-zero carbon footprint plus sourcing that follows a completely sustainable supply chain. Our guests might be surprised to find their possible daily Starbucks habit generates .6 pounds CO2 emissions per expresso. The coffee giant just received an “F” in the 2021 Who's Minding the Store? A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals for not protecting consumers and the planet.
Approximately 33% of the world’s food is wasted whether it is at home, at a restaurant, hotel or an event. In 2016 we reduced food waste by 30% followed by another 30% after the resort partnered with the World Wildlife Fund. Any leftovers are given to farmers for livestock.
With the growing demand for plant-based dining, our guests have a wide selection of innovative options other than traditional proteins, helping to decrease the demand for animal agriculture, which produces 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. A plant-based burger has an 89% smaller carbon footprint than the classic traditional beef burger from McDonald’s. Where food is procured is as important as how healthy the food itself is. Local sourcing microgreens leaves a miniscule transportation footprint of 0.0003 pounds CO2e versus 2.2 pounds CO2e per head of lettuce from California. Procuring lionfish from Aruba’s fishermen results in a mouthwatering ceviche while removing the invasive menace from local waters. The recently launched Authentic Aruban and Caribbean lunch buffet includes historically local dishes prepared with local ingredients – something our guests can only enjoy on island. Food is cooked using induction burners, which deliver 80 - 90% heat to the pan. In comparison, gas stoves convert a mere 38 percent of the fuel’s energy and electric can only convert 70 percent, which extends the cooking process, demands more electricity or gas and creates more heat requiring more air-conditioning in the kitchen.
Using refillable keepsake water canteens provided to all of our guests at check-in, this initiative keeps approximately 290,000 single-use water bottles from ever being destined for the island’s landfill. Plus, we banned single-use plastic and Styrofoam for more than 20 years, an initiative adopted in recent years island-wide by Aruba. As a bonus, with the island’s water own water being rated as the highest quality according to the World Health Organization, there is never a need to source from places such as Fuji.
Our guests can hit the Fitness Centre for a workout on Bucuti & Tara’s advanced bicycles and treadmills that convert calories to kilowatts. The sophisticated, globally-connected fitness equipment harnesses human power to generate electricity with 74% being delivered right into our resort’s power grid. Bucuti & Tara’s SportsArt equipment can generate up to 250 watt per hour whereas a conventional treadmill will utilize up to 200 watts per hour.
Smart water use.
Sophisticated bathrooms, including our guest-favorite television built-in vanity mirrors, include low-flow faucets and fixtures. Opting for low flow reduces water use from 4.5 gallons per minute to just 1.8 gallons. Hot water is powered by dedicated rooftop solar panels, which harness Aruba’s abundant sunshine, and not fossil fuels.
Hitting pause on flight shaming
While flight shaming has been a recurring topic, people are often surprised to learn that a fly vacation is much more environmentally friendly than a drive getaway. A recent CNN story revealed that air travel accounts for just 9% of transportation emissions versus 59% from light vehicles.
For simplicity’s sake, flying nonstop from New York to Aruba for a one-week vacation has total carbon emissions of 1043.20 kg. Using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s passenger vehicle emissions calculations, the equivalent automobile vacation has total carbon emissions over three times that amount at 3305.23 kg. Therefore, the benefit of flying with a few hundred people plus the net-zero carbon footprint at Bucuti & Tara versus the average American household far outweigh a two-person road trip.
Earth Day activities
Our carbon-neutral resort is planning a multiday celebration for our guests and staff for Earth Day 2021. Activities are subject to change.