Bans Conservation Centre
Bans is one of the largest resorts and dive centres on Koh Tao, so it may surprise you to learn that it is also the most environmentally friendly. Even most long term locals would be surprised to see how many ecological initiatives are underway at the Bans Conservation Centre on the mountainside behind the main resort in central Sairee. It certainly makes it onto our list of Koh Tao’s best-kept secrets and a visit is highly recommended for everyone, but especially for those with a passion for the environment and nature.
About the Bans Conservation Centre
The premise of the Bans conservation centre is to create an economy of sufficiency, a philosophy that was originally developed by the late King, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama 9). In layman’s terms, creating a sufficiency economy simply means that you can support yourself as sustainably as possible. To that end, the eco team at Bans have cut no corners. With a crew of around 50 working on various environmental projects at any one time, the team has made some amazing accomplishments:
- Thanks to their 2 freshwater reservoirs that collect rainwater and mountain runoff, Bans has not needed to buy water for showers, toilets, or laundry facilities etc for several years.
- Bans is self-sufficient for organic soap, shampoos, detergents, toilet cleaners, and even mosquito repellent – an achievement made even more impressive when you consider they have nearly 400 rooms across their various accommodation options.
- All cafes and restaurants in the Bans group are self-sufficient for everyday fruit and vegetables for their salads, desserts, and sides. In the thriving garden next to the lower reservoir and Eco Centre you’ll find lettuce, okra, bok choy, chillis, lemongrass, lemons, limes, melons, spinach, bell peppers, eggplant, banana, mulberries, and more.
- The team use their large septic tanks to create and produce biogas, so there is no need to buy any propane gas for any cooking, water heating, or to fuel machinery.
Bans Conservation Centre Projects
Aside from creating a sufficiency economy, there are several other environmentally friendly initiatives on the go at any given time. Some examples of current projects include:
- Expanding their line of organic and eco-friendly products to sell to other businesses and the general public. If you’d like to buy eco products in bulk, you can take containers up to the Eco Centre anytime before 4.30pm daily. Smaller, individual purchases can be made at the retail store on the walking street down by the beach.
- Organic composting projects complete with vermiculture (worm science!) to create the most efficient and nutritious environment in which to grow plants. All of the natural waste from the garden is added to residual organic matter from satellite operations like the restaurants, cafe’s, and dive boats. Everything is brought up to the composting area so nothing goes to waste.
- Experimenting with solar panels, which currently power the gardens and Eco Centre.
- Collecting and saving thousands of glass bottles for a project to turn them into sand for our beaches.
- Fish ponds for research and study. The fish are mainly used to ensure efficiency and optimum development in other areas, as they are fantastic indicators of water health.
- Making as much as possible from the natural environment. Bamboo from the land is used to make lampshades and waste paper baskets for resort furnishings. Meanwhile, stronger woods are used to craft chairs, benches, and tables etc.
- Recycling as much as possible. Old milk containers are used to make bags and floor mats. Aluminium, cardboard, plastics, and any spare glass is compressed, packaged, and sent to recycling plants on the mainland. Bans also takes batteries and hazardous waste like aerosols for safe disposal, and is the only company on the island to do so.
If you’d like to learn more and see for yourself, tours are available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or on request for larger groups and bespoke tours. Please email [email protected] or call 077456466 for more details.