Plastic has come to the forefront of the environmental debate in recent years. The increase in news stories and documentaries such as Blue Planet 2 have sparked a revolution.
Bali for example, has committed to a ban on all single use plastics. They hope that it will reduce the marine plastic by 70% within a year. People are more aware than ever how single use plastics affect the planet and want to do more to help. That being said, being eco-friendly on the move can be difficult, so we’ve come up with some handy tips!
Now, Gili Trawangan is a tropical island. As with most tropical islands, it tends to be hot. This means drinking a lot of water is essential, particularly if you’re catching those rays. As is common with many Asian countries, it isn’t advisable to drink water straight from the tap. There are plenty of places where you can buy cheap bottled water. But one of the brilliant things on this island is that there are so many water refill stations.
The website “Refill my Bottle” and the app “Refill Bali” can show you exactly where you can refill your own bottle. This does usually cost a small fee, but is often a lot less than the price of bottled water.
Don’t have your own refillable water bottle? No problem! You can pick up a sturdy metal one from Gili Eco Trust’s shop for 200k.
Drinking straws have been in the news a lot lately. From a viral video of a straw being pulled out of a turtle’s nose, to pictures of beaches covered in them – they’re a hot topic. Many countries around the world have committed to getting rid of plastic straws completely in the next few years, including Bali. Unfortunately, Gili Trawangan is not currently one of them. Despite this, there are certain things you can do to reduce your usage:
Buy your own reusable straws – you can buy metal straws at Gili Eco Trust and bamboo straws at various places including La Boulangerie Bakery
Request drinks with no straws at bars and restaurants – unfortunately, most places assume you want one!
If you do find yourself with a plastic straw, make sure that it’s disposed of properly and not left to blow into the ocean. We regularly do reef clean dives and straws are one of the worst offenders! Find out more about our reef cleans.
Getting a take away on Gili Trawangan happens more than you might think. There’s so much to see and do, sometimes you gotta eat on the go! Or you can go eat it on the beach with your mates.
A lot of places will wrap your nasi or mie goreng in paper parcels which isn’t so bad for the environment. However they also often give you plastic bags and cutlery as well, and some places use polystyrene tubs. One way around this can be to only use places that use the paper method. Then you can refuse the bag and cutlery and away you go!
Another option is to take your own tupperware container. This is useful for travelling in general as well, you never know when you’ll need a waterproof box! An added benefit of this option is that you often get more food if they don’t have to squish it into paper. And let’s face it – more food is always good!
One of our previous DMTs wrote about some great vegan and vegetarian restaurants to check out on Gili T – give them a look and see how eco-friendly they are!
Beanbags and polystyrene
Many bars and restaurants in Gili Trawangan have super Instagrammable and brightly coloured bean bags on the beach. These are ideal for kicking back with a beer and watching the sunset with your mates. We even have some in the shop for chilling out on after a dive. The negatives come when they degrade and start releasing their little polystyrene balls onto the beach. These will wash into the oceans and float forever – they do not degrade. Because they float on the surface, they’re often mistaken for food by sea birds and fish.
Before you sit down, check over the bean bag and make sure it doesn’t look as though it’s about to pop or if it’s already leaking tiny balls. If it is, pick a different one! It is also a good idea to let the staff know that it is damaged and needs repairing. Even if you don’t sit on it, someone else will!
No cars – yay!
So we had to mention it, because we’re a little smug. We have no motorised transport on this island. Well ok, we have one petrol driven garbage truck, but that’s it. A few electric motorbikes, bikes, horses and feet. If that’s not eco-friendly, what is?
Bikes and walking
So, conveniently, the only ways to get around the island are actually very eco-friendly. The island is more than small enough to walk around. The majority of restaurants and accommodation are on the eastern side which makes it even easier. However if you wish to, you can rent a good old fashioned bike to get places a little quicker.
The prices for bike rentals are usually very reasonable and will sometimes offer a discount for longer rentals. If you are staying longer than a few weeks, it may be even more economical to buy a bike and sell it on again at the end of your stay. Bike rentals are sometimes available through where you’re staying but there are plenty of places you will pass walking down along the street.
A lot of people assume that cigarette butts are biodegradable because they’re just paper and the filter… right? Unfortunately, the filters are usually made of a variety of things including cellulose acetate filters, which do not biodegrade. With 5.6 trillion cigarettes smoked every year, it is one of the most common items of litter.
There are plenty of places to dispose of your cigarette butts on Gili Trawangan – all restaurants/bars/clubs etc will have ashtrays. In addition, Gili Eco Trust sell portable ashtrays which you can take with you on your adventures around the island. Convenient!
If you want to get involved on keeping our island clean while you’re here – you’re in luck! Every Friday evening, Gili Eco Trust run a beach clean up with a different business around the island. The benefit of this? (Other than a clean beach and that warm fuzzy feeling of course!)You also get a free small Bintang or soft drink of your choice. Who said being eco-friendly wasn’t fun?!
If you have visited Indonesia, surely you have come across the favourite local beer – Bintang. Chances are, if you have come to Gili Trawangan you may have consumed one or two. As luck would have it, by choosing this popular beverage, you’re also being eco-friendly, yay! Not only will you save money if you return the bottles to certain shops around the island (payment per bottle) but the bottles are also recycled. All bottles are sent back to Bintang and are cleaned, relabelled and refilled with beer. Being eco-friendly just gets better and better.
While it can be a challenge to be eco-friendly while travelling, Gili Trawangan makes it pretty easy! With an integrated recycling system and a dedicated charity, it is one of the most eco-friendly islands in the world. We’re very proud to call it our home and contribute any way we can! Pop into the shop to talk about even more ways to be eco-friendly whilst diving or to join us for a reef clean dive! You can find us here.
By Rachel Thannhauser