Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. As current caretakers of the island, we take on a responsibility to care for and protect the surrounding natural environment and are continuously looking at how we can minimise our impact. Here are some of the ways we are committed to reducing our footprint:
We believe that providing first-hand experiences within the Great Barrier Reef and our surrounding environment is an important way of promoting and educating visitors to the island about their need for protection. Guests have access to a variety of snorkelling, diving and glass bottom boat tours, where they can learn from expert guides about the area’s extraordinary biodiversity and the challenges it faces environmentally.
Our recently upgraded walking trails were specifically designed to encourage more visitors to explore the natural bushland that makes up 75 per cent of the island, leading to some newly built lookouts as part of our Icons Trail, where they can stop and soak up the views of the surrounding islands and waterways.
Our island-wide erosion and sediment control measures, such as rocky reed bed swale drains, silt traps, gross pollutant traps and promotion of natural vegetation around water courses, minimise run-off organic matter draining into local marine habitats.
Hotel cleaning products are sourced from a local mainland supplier and are formulated from plant-derived bioflavonoids to replace synthetic chemicals, which are biodegradable within seven days, reducing impact on the environment.
In early 2020, Hamilton Island was part-recipient of the Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Fund, and these funds were dedicated to a substantial upgrade of the island’s sewerage and water treatment plants. Improvements to the water production process significantly reduced overall energy and water consumption. Hamilton Island's sewerage treatment facility now produces ‘A’ class treated effluent, of which 95% is reused throughout the island’s extensive tropical gardens and lawns, rather than being discharged into waterways.
The Great Barrier Reef Island Resorts Rejuvenation Fund also provided for the purchase and installation of seven liquid food composters (LFC’s) designed to compost the majority of the island’s organic food waste. The by-product of the LFC units is disposed safely into the sewerage system and used to irrigate the gardens around the island. The seven composters divert up to 125 tonnes of organic food waste from landfill each year, which provides a carbon reduction of 541 tonnes.
Our continued focus on recycling has seen an overall year-on-year reduction of 17 per cent of general waste. In a normal year, staff on the island collect and bale over one tonne of separated recyclables daily, which diverts over 300 tonnes of cardboard from landfill every year.
Single-use plastic cutlery, straws and food storage containers have all been removed from the island. A series of water fountains are available across Hamilton Island, encouraging guests and residents to use refillable water bottles. Complimentary refillable water bottles are provided in some of the island’s hotels and to conference delegates.
The island’s food and beverage outlets use the Cookers Bulk Oil System, supplied in reusable fresh oil storage units eliminating the need for tins which end up in landfill. The oil product waste is collected, de-watered and refined before being used for biodiesel and cattle feed.
Residential green waste is collected and mulched on the island, with resulting mulch used on the extensive gardens across the island. This helps to reduce waste and aids in water conversation by providing gardens with a protective layer of compost.
Any items that have reached their end of life such as TV’s and computer equipment, and household and buggy batteries are recovered for recycling. Even old mattresses are stripped into their component parts and recycled by a local social enterprise.
Measuring just 4.5km from north to south and 3km from east to west, and with much of the resort activities and facilities centrally located, it is possible to reach most things on the island on foot. The island is mostly car free, with the main mode of transport being electric golf buggies. There are many island-wide energy saving measures in place; including solar powered, low wattage and LED lighting, and energy saving devices are also installed in all hotels and most private residences.