Footsteps Eco-Lodge, The Gambia
Footsteps Eco-Lodge is tucked away in the village of Gunjur in The Gambia, West Africa. It’s a small complex with a massive eco-tourism ethic. The roundhouses and their facilities have been purposely built to make the most of the natural climate, avoiding the need for air-conditioning and providing energy and hot water courtesy of the sun.
The freshwater swimming pool is naturally cleaned by the filtering reed beds which are also popular with local birdlife, allowing you to ‘twitch’ directly from your sun-lounger or hammock and for Winter 2018/2019 they intend to become plastic free.
Aiming for zero plastic
‘This means completely eliminating plastic bottles from the complex. We will be providing filtered drinking water for our guests at the same price that it would cost for them to buy a bottle of water, but we’ll be taking plastic bottles out of the equation. Branded re-usable water bottles will be provided for free and we’ll also encourage guests to bring their own by communicating our new approach on our website and in our social media’ said owner of Footsteps, David White.
Despite being a small complex, we can still get through 3000 1.5 litre plastic water bottles in just six months, not to mention 144 bottles of detergent. The latter will be tackled by using the solar water heating system to wash laundry in hot water instead of cold water, not only eliminating the plastic bottles but also the impact of detergents on the local environment.
The only other single use plastic at the lodge is clingfilm. This is causing a stir as it is proving very challenging to find an alternative. For food preparation and storage we already use Tupperware products but the difficulty arises when the weekly buffet and barbecues are scheduled. Salads and other dishes need to be prepared in advance and stored on the trays upon which they are served. This makes it impossible to use anything but clingfilm or tin foil, both of which we find wasteful as once they’ve been used to cover the food they have to be discarded due to being contaminated with food waste.
We’d love to hear from any hotels that have been able to find a suitable, hygienic, waste free solution to this problem.