Green Globe member the luxurious Pimalai Resort & Spa details their best practices in the Thai region of Koh Lanta and their forthcoming plans for future sustainability directions.
Pimalai Biogas Unit
The Pimalai Biogas Plant is one of the latest initiatives in addressing food waste issues at the property. The resort team has learned the details of biogas processing from Mr. Kosol Saengthong who operates a successful local biogas plant in Phetchaburi province. In January 2019, the biogas unit arrived at Pimalai and is situated next to the staff canteen. It is a large polyester sack that resembles a big balloon and used to contain methane gas. About 200 kg of kitchen food scraps per day will be emptied into the sack. The scraps will ferment naturally and produce methane gas which will be utilized as a fuel in the staff canteen kitchen.
Approximately half of the lower part of the biogas unit, a 50 cubic meter cylinder shaped sack, is secured underground. Cow dung and water are fed into the unit to initiate the fermentation process and the subsequent release of methane gas. Once in operation, pressurized methane gas will lower energy costs used by the kitchen and also reduce the amount of methane that escapes to the atmosphere by the normal decomposition of food waste. It is a win-win situation.
Rak Lanta Project
Over the past decade, Koh Lanta has seen a substantial increase in the number of tourist arrivals on the island. One outcome of this growth is that waste management is now becoming a major issue due to the lack of a suitable landfill facility. Local authorities also face challenges in managing the problem with limited resources.
Pimalai Resort & Spa upholds its moral and social responsibilities by supporting initiatives that preserve Koh Lanta’s natural environment as well as making it a sustainable tourist destination, bringing positive benefits to local communities. The resort initiated its Rak Lanta Project to raise awareness within the community to protect Koh Lanta’s exquisite natural environs and to reduce waste pollution both on land and at sea. Pimalai has been actively promoting and providing waste bins and garbage storage facilities around Kantiang beach and now garbage is properly disposed of at a specially designated area. This has restored beach surrounds back to their original beauty and reduced the amount of water-borne garbage deposited on the beach.
The resort has helped local communities, shop owners and resort operators to separate garbage in a systematic manner so that non-compostable materials can be recycled more easily. School students are also educated on waste separation programs and each school is provided with 5 sets of clearly labeled bins to simplify waste segregation. In addition, there are plans to set up a collection “cage” where students can deposit plastic bottles. The cage will be emptied each week by a company that will pay for the plastics, providing additional income to the school to spend on much needed items.
Future Community Actions
This year, Pimalai has a future plans to expand its Rak Lanta Project to all 14 schools in Koh Lanta Yai, Lanta Noi and Koh Por. The resort will also conduct quarterly meetings with school teachers to share results and benchmark best practices in order to monitor individual progress. Other future projects, in addition to waste separation, is to disseminate information about Pimalai waste management skills on waste decomposition and biogas processing so schools can make their own fertilizer to grow food crops and lower their school kitchens’ fuel costs.
Finally, the resort will be embarking on an exciting new initiative to tackle plastic garbage pollution and plans to launch a “Say No to Plastic bags and Foam” program to reduce plastic consumption, a major waste management issue in Koh Lanta and beyond.