Discover some of the ways we’re tackling waste at The Star, and how you can too.
If you’ve been thinking more about your environmental footprint, you’re not alone. Across The Star, we’ve been looking at ways to reduce the waste we create. We chatted to Amanda Visser, Group Head of Sustainability for The Star Entertainment Group, to find out about some of the incredible work being done behind the scenes, and to get inspiration for steps we can take in our own lives.
Use your purchase power
Our impact starts every time we open our wallet. By driving demand for greener options, every person that makes small, positive changes can contribute to big outcomes. As the late entrepreneur and Body Shop founder Anita Roddick said: “If you think you‘re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.”
“Waste is something that we all contribute to and where we have the most influence to improve,” says Amanda Visser. “By considering what we buy, how it is packaged, its recycled content and its ability to be reused, repurposed or recycled ensures we continue to increase diversion from landfill.”
Welcoming millions of people over our thresholds to stay, play and dine every year gives The Star a lot of purchase power (and responsibility). By considering the impact of what we buy during the purchase stage, we can help limit waste days, weeks and even years down the line.
Feed the world
Did you know that for every five bags of food the average Australian buys, the equivalent of one will end up in the bin? A simple solution is only buying what you need says chef Peter Robertson, who has placed sustainability at the heart of Sydney’s Flying Fish. “Don’t buy a lot. Use everything you buy. I think that sort of conversation around sustainability, it should be intertwined with wastage. You can be more sustainable just by not throwing away 50 per cent of your seafood, for example,” he says.
When you do find yourself with extra, food banks will often welcome it with gusto. “Our preference is always to donate food to charities,” says Amanda. “Within the 2020 year we diverted 33 tonnes of food waste to OzHarvest and Foodbank which created the equivalent of 100,900 meals.” Each month, The Star Sydney and The Star Gold Coast continue to provide 800kgs of fresh fruit and vegetables to OzHarvest’s healthy school’s program.
Even if you don’t have tonnes to spare, try reaching out to local community organisations – a single meal can mean the world.
Banish the plastics
Do you say no to the straw? BYO keep cup? Then you’re part of the growing anti-plastics brigade. With brands increasingly cutting down on packaging and venues embracing more sustainable options, it’s getting easier to keep up the good fight in your everyday life.
The Star has made a public pledge to reduce plastics, reports Amanda, and has committed to the City of Sydney’s Plastics Reduction Pledge. “We have made some great inroads with expanding our compostable range of packaging and have switched out 41 non-sustainable items with 33 compostable and sustainable items, in addition to removing 7.5 million plastic straws in favour of paper.”
Reuse and recycle
Reuse before it’s rubbish and you’ll be on your way to a waste-free life. There are a million ways to reuse – from ingenious DIY projects to purchasing products like drink bottles designed to be used again and again. When something has exhausted its usefulness, local councils can advise what belongs in what bin in your area and countless organisations will thank you for your waste.
At The Star, our waste has never worked harder. “We are always looking for innovative ways to repurpose used materials and to create recycling streams that we didn’t have before,” says Amanda. “In 2020, the Group diverted 30 recycling streams from landfill including batteries, organics, soft plastics, cardboard, linen and uniforms.”
Every month, for one, The Star diverts around 100 tonnes of food waste to EarthPower to create green energy and compost. At home, it’s also possible to put your food waste to good use – a backyard compost bin or balcony-friendly worm farm will give you a lifetime of plant fertiliser.
Be the fabric of change
Sure, we love an outfit change as much as the next person. But as many fashion-conscious folks know, the fast fashion industry has a big waste problem; Australia alone sends more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill each year. But with recycled fabrics making inroads and more services popping up diverting fabric from landfill, a little digging can yield more options than you’d expect.
With around 9000 employees across three properties and thousands of people enjoying our hotels, restaurants, bars and venues every day, The Star can wind up with a lot of used uniforms and linens. It’s an issue that Amanda’s team has tackled head on. When the opening of The Star Sydney’s Sovereign room made 10,300 pieces of uniform obsolete, they managed to recycle every single one – St Vincent de Paul took 6000; 4000 pieces went to Australian clean technology company BlockTexx to become new products; and 300 items to Dress for Success to empower women seeking employment. We’ve even seen felt from our old gaming tables become dog beds.
And we’re not done yet. Across the business, our next goal is to hit the best-practice recycling rate of over 85% – another win for the war on waste.