Why Being a Sustainable Surf Retreat Means Everything to Us

21 June, 2024 | Lombok, Sustainability, travel lifestyle

“Sustainability” is one of those eco-buzz words that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean in practice?

With Sustainability Month upon us, we thought it was high time to dive into the topic and share with you why being a sustainable surf retreat means everything to us at Xanadu.

Whether you’re an eco-conscious past guest or you’re thinking about booking a stay with us, we want you to know that offsetting our environmental impact and giving back to the community are at the core of everything we do.

The importance of sustainability in the surf world

This might come as a shock, but surfers aren’t exactly the greenest demographic.

Petrochemicals in surfboards, non-biodegradable wetsuits and sunscreen that kills coral reefs are just a few of the ways we can harm the ocean while chasing groomed waves and waist-high peaks.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

As surfers, we have the unique opportunity to directly connect with nature through our pastime, and as such, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the very thing that brings us so much joy.

That’s why sustainability is crucial in the surf world – it’s not just about being environmentally conscious, but also about preserving our playground for future generations of loggers, shredders and ocean enthusiasts.

8 ways we promote sustainability at Xanadu Retreat

Besides small acts such as picking up trash on the beach, recycling and being mindful about leaving lights and AC on, there are a number of other ways that we promote sustainability on Lombok.

Net zero construction and energy efficiency

From the very beginning, we wanted Xanadu Retreat to be a sustainable property that operates as close to net-zero impact as possible.

To achieve this, our 2,750 m2 luxury eco-hotel has been built to produce as much renewable energy as it uses. With wells, solar panels and energy-efficient appliances, we’re proud to say that Xanadu Retreat is almost entirely net-zero.

We even use eco-friendly toiletries in our guest rooms that are made locally in Bali from natural ingredients. Not only do they smell great, but they also have no negative impact on the environment.

Solar power

We boast the largest solar system in the area, and whatever solar energy we don’t use is fed back to the grid.

This is especially important in Lombok, where the majority of electricity comes from fossil fuels such as diesel and coal. By utilising solar power, we’re able to make a positive impact on the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

A small amount of generation from hydropower and solar power completes the current power supply. 

Water conservation

Water is a precious resource, especially on islands like Lombok where access to clean water can be limited.

We’ve implemented a rainwater collection tank of over 180 cubic metres and a water filtration system to ensure that our guests have access to clean, safe drinking water.

We also use deep wells at both of our locations to replenish the local aquifers and prevent overuse of groundwater.

Plastic-free initiatives

As an island surrounded by pristine beaches and marine life, we understand the importance of reducing plastic waste. 

That’s why we have a strict no-plastic-bottle policy at Xanadu. Instead, we provide complimentary refills of purified water for our guests and encourage them to bring their own reusable bottles.

Organisations such as Sungai Watch are doing a fantastic job of clearing Indonesia’s rivers of pollutants and harmful debris, and we believe by going plastic free we can help their cause.

Waste management

Both organic and food waste are major contributors to environmental damage, so we’ve taken steps to ensure that our waste is managed properly.

Any organic waste is sent to an Organic Waste Management plant for treatment using black soldier flies and turned into compost and animal feed. 

Any leftover food from our à la carte breakfasts is given to our pet queen Luna to finish.

Community outreach

We’re here for a long time, which means we have a responsibility to the community in which we operate.

We’ve already partnered with boat captains, local all-female collectives and Lombok surfboard shapers among other businesses to help spread the sustainability message.

Our goal is to continue building meaningful relationships with other local businesses in the years to come and working with them to promote eco-friendly thinking in the community.

Bin sponsorship

You won’t find designated bins for trash and recycling on the streets of Lombok, as many locals are not used to throwing their waste in a bin.

For this reason, we sponsor bins in our village and work with Lombok Plastic Free to educate the community about the importance of proper waste management.

Staff training

Given that the vast majority of our team are locals, we take our role in providing vocational training and career growth very seriously.

This includes teaching them about waste management and imparting green principles upon them, which they then spread to their families and friends, creating a ripple effect of positive change.

It’s a process, for sure, but we’re proud to play a small part in educating and empowering our staff about sustainability.

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to write about being sustainable with green-washing so prevalent, but we hope that by showing you exactly what we do, we’re able to inspire others to follow suit.

We truly believe that sustainability is not just about minimising harm, but also about giving back and making a positive impact on the environment and community around us. 

As British explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

We may be just one surf retreat on a remote island, but we’re committed to doing our part and being an example for others to follow.

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