Recently one morning I looked for something on Netflix to have with my coffee. I settled on a series about the most amazing hotels in the world.
The first episode was on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. It’s an architectural engineering marvel completed in 2010. It would be wonderful to visit and admire in person. If you could empty out everyone and everything that goes on inside of it.
From the frat-boy, getting something-for-nothing competitiveness of the casino; to the slave labor of the 5000 hotel employees who make the place run; to the Instagram losers mugging in the skyline infinity pool, this place exudes toxicity.
The hotel has 2500 guest rooms and is almost always full. There are 60 restaurants on site and 53 kitchens with 400 chefs who support the hotel’s food service. The 150,00 pieces of employee uniforms are accessed using 18 industrial size dry cleaning conveyors.
The death-defying cement pond on the roof is two football fields long. A thousand tons of water make it so heavy a computerized system of 500 hydraulic jacks constantly recalibrates balance and support for the building. Think of the energy used just so vacationers can memorialize the one second of their day when they appear to be having fun.
The hotel’s main draw is gambling. And the leisure travel class who wager are not the most eco-friendly. What happens to the garbage of a million guests per year? The shopping bags, racing forms, dry cleaning plastic? Not to mention the Mountain Dew empties and Carl’s Jr. wrappers discarded during a jackpot high?
The show pays lip service to the issue by highlighting the innovative laundry operation that cuts water consumption by 70%. But when guests are allowed to take three to five pool towels at a time, it’s kind of a wash.
The affable hosts would rather talk about the 500 pounds of flour used to bake 10,000 bread rolls each day. My guess is a half to two-thirds are completely eaten, where do the leftovers and unused go? The subject is never mentioned.
So I decided to ask my friend the internet how the Marina Bay Sands disposes of garbage. The first few pages of search results were news and videos produced by MBS marketing their commitment to the environment. This was followed by industry articles and awards echoing the same commitment.
The unifying theme was the importance of protecting the environment. You could tell that because the word “important” was used six times per sentence (with an occasional “sustainable” thrown in for good measure).
MBS is determined to convince you of their sincerity. They even produce a Sustainability Report detailing the impact of a guest’s stay at checkout. It probably summarizes how ecologically important their visit was to the universe.
Missing in everything is the “how” or “what” to support these assertions. Except for the 60% of rolls that are digested, I still have no idea how the waste is treated.
I’ve always been reluctant to compost because of the gnats. Every kitchen I’ve been in that has a Gavin Newsom contraption also has bugs hovering around.
But in my new building we have a compost chute next door to my apartment. Every evening I take a degradable corn starch bag and heave my compostables down. This one small step has reduced my carbon footprint from a 7 1/2 B to a 6 AAA. The Ferragamos fit again!
I’ve also been thinking about how my new sewer parenting responsibilities affect the environment. Are there unintended consequences from the Montana Hologram Spray Paint mixing with rain water? Specifically, does glitter run-off contribute to the choking epidemic rampant in the Bodega Bay Sand Dab population?
To ease my mind I commissioned a report from EIR’s ‘r Us. If not the most thorough investigators on the planet, certainly the most cost-effective. They concluded that, although Dab asphyxiation is an important consideration, it’s not that important.
On this Earth Day we should all resolve to do our part. It’s important to me and it should be important to you. Most importantly, because it’s important. Sustainably speaking.