• 21,000 fewer single use water bottles discarded by clients travelling in Asia in just 18 months.
  • Selective Asia’s ‘One Bottle at a Time’ aims to more than double that to 45,000 in 2019.
  • Portable water cannisters in all client vehicles used in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
  • More Selective Asia destinations set to join growing initiative.

Twenty-one thousand fewer single use plastic water bottles have been discarded over the past 18 months thanks to an initiative from tour operator Selective Asia.

One Bottle at a Time, which aims to more than double that figure to 45,000 bottles by the end of 2019, now operates in three of the destinations featured by the award-winning company – Thailand, Laos and Cambodia – with several more countries set to join the scheme this year, including Malaysia/Borneo, Myanmar and Vietnam (see note to editors).

Operating in partnership with two NGOs – Refill Not Landfill and the Exo Foundation, both of which are focused on water bottle waste reduction in Asia – the project looks to share and foster knowledge and good practice among tourists, locals, ground partners and regional suppliers.

“There are certainly obstacles in driving this project forward and some countries are easier to tackle than others for a variety of reasons, logistical, geographic and cultural,” explains Selective Asia managing director Nick Pulley.

“Cambodia, for example, has been our biggest success to date, whereas in Thailand – a more complex country further down the road of disposable consumerism – the task is a little more challenging.

On a practical level, Selective Asia has installed portable water canisters is all vehicles in the countries in which One Bottle at a Time is already operation and is believed to be the only company offering this to people travelling on tailor-made (non-group) tours. This is in addition to existing work with local partners on the scheme that allows clients to refill reusable bottles from water stations at key partner hotels.

“To have achieved what we have in 18 months is remarkable and our clients are integral to that – they are our eyes and ears on the ground. We’re also hoping we can persuade other UK tour operators to join us” adds Nick, adding that a key part of the challenge is giving travellers the information to help them make informed choices while “on the road”.

On a practical level, Selective Asia is working closely with local partners on the scheme that allows clients to refill reusable bottles from water stations at key partner hotels and portable water canisters which, it is hoped, will eventually be carried in as many vehicles as possible.

“We aren’t experts in this area, but we’ve embarked something that is an ongoing process and we admit it’s one that isn’t always easy. We are though committed and are persevering as we try to make a difference one bottle at a time,” adds Nick Pulley.

Further information on Selective Asia’s One Bottle at a Time initiative can be found here.


May 12, 2019

Press enquiries to David Leck at Selective Asia on 01322 528580/07710 326256.

Note to Editors

This is the latest status schedule for the further roll-out of One Bottle at a Time:

Thailand: Project launched in 2018
Cambodia: Project launched in 2018
Laos: Project launched in 2018
Sri Lanka: Bottles now in country – Project fully operational by June 2019
Malaysia/Borneo: Bottles now in country. Project fully operational by May 2019 (select destinations only initially)
Myanmar: Vehicle water units being (hand) made. Project operational by May 2019
Vietnam Order for bottles placed. Project operational by summer 2019
Indonesia: Currently sourcing bottles. Project operational by summer 2019 (initially in Java and Bali only)
Japan Initial bottle delivery refused by customs, we are currently looking at alternative options. Launch date unknown
Taiwan, Philippines, S. Korea, Nepal, Bhutan & Tibet: Initial consultations and feasibility assessment to begin shortly. Launch date unknown