Beyond Green canal clean up

by: Felicity Cousins | July 4, 2024

UK: This week Beyond Green welcomed five of its member hotels to join a canal clean up, organised by the Lower Regents Coalition in Hackney Wick, London.

Beyond Green is a global portfolio of sustainable accommodations “committed to environmental stewardship, cultural preservation, and community engagement.”

Sustainable Hotel News joined the group of hoteliers and leaders from Beyond Green to work together in canoes, litter picking the waterways.

The idea was to bring together some of Beyond Green’s sustainable hotels in a positive activity – working together to make a difference. We were told any rubbish we brought out of the water was stopping it from breaking down into micro plastics and polluting the oceans.

Moo Canoes, which is based on the Milk Float in Hackney Wick, ran the event with two members of the Lower Regents Coalition, which organises volunteer clean ups for London’s canals and waterways.

The rain fell as we clambered into our damp canoes and pushed away from the pontoon, grasping our litter pickers and paddles in both hands.

We were told to avoid any organic matter, any sharpies or broken glass and also to avoid slamming into people’s house boats. I was partnered with Brenda Collin, executive vice president Europe Preferred Travel Group, who said she didn’t really want to get wet, which added another layer of responsibility to my role as chief pilot of the canoe.

Soon we were manoeuvring our vessel between bottles, bags and boats and deeply involved in what was an intensely mindful experience.

Trying to both steer the boat and grab litter floating in the opposite direction; changing from paddlers to litter pickers, leaning and laughing, we stuffed our black bin bags with detritus from Hackney’s streets.

We came across plastic biros, whiskey bottles, crisp packets, clumps of polystyrene, plastic bags, food wrapping, cans, and to our delight we also found some baby coots following their mum in and out of the bows of the house boats.

Later we discovered their nest – plastic bags and bottles weaved in with straws and weeds. It occurred to me these birds do not know which supermarket they are sitting on, nor the hierarchy of those supermarket brands. They have adapted to the rubbish they have found in their natural surroundings and use it at their peril. No loyalty points for them.

After about an hour our legs were wobbling around on the pontoon, bin bags dumped in a communal pile. It was a short amount of time and a lot of rubbish. I asked what was the weirdest thing that’s been found. I was told a hand grenade and an AK47. So we probably got off a bit lightly.

One hour later

Of those who joined in the litter pick from Beyond Green, four properties were from across Europe and included Italy’s Borgo Pignano, Volterra, general manager Simone Arcucci, and Starhotels E.c.ho, Milan, represented by room division manager, Katia Di Martino.

We were also joined by Debra Hinde, head of marketing & business development from the UK’s carbon neutral Swinton Park Hotel in Ripon and Daniela Petrides, PR consultant for Austria’s Stanglwirt, Kitzbühel, which will be added to the website at the end of this month. Carolina Ramirez Herrera, PR consultant for Zimbabwe’s luxury Zambezi Sands, Victoria Falls and based inside the National Park, also took part in the event.

Brenda Collin, executive vice president Europe Preferred Travel Group said once we were on dry land: “Beyond Green was founded with a mission of transforming the global travel and tourism industry where sustainability is the rule and not the exception. And our five member hotels who are here today, exemplify that. Thank you so much for being part of our brand.”

In January 2024, Beyond Green committed to donating 1 per cent of its annual sales to support a variety of high-impact environmental nonprofit organisations, in partnership with 1% for the Planet. You can read more about that below.

Beyond Green commits to supporting environmental organisations

Beyond Green also released its first Global Impact Report in December last year. You can read more about that here.

Images: Boodle McDougall Photography