Gulf News caught up with Ian Hannah, Director at No More Bottles, a young UAE company, to chat through how he is helping the UAE golf industry in their collaborative sustainability programmes.
Gulf News: We last spoke to you at the DP World Tour events at Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah. Tell us what you have been up to since then?
Ian: We are fully engaged with the DP World Tour UAE office and have supported their tournament initiatives at the DP World Tour Championship in November, 2021 as well as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Abu Dhabi and at Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah for their two tournaments earlier this year in February. The tournament initiative involved eliminating single use plastic water bottles, which was a huge success, across these four events and we estimate to have helped eliminate just under 100,000 plastic bottles, mindful that this is over the course of 16 to 20 days, that’s averaging 5,000 plastic bottles per day.
Gulf News: What golf clubs are you working with and how does the partnership work?
Ian: We originally started with Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah. A big thank you to Paul Booth for getting us into the UAE golf industry and with additional support from Troon Golf and their International Office. Paul signed up with us and made sure that it aligned with an existing Troon Golf global sustainability initiative.
Our flagship facility in the UAE is The Els Club, Dubai.
We previously dealt with Andrea Faldella and now with Tom Rourke. Officially we now have seven contracted golf clubs and facilities on our books at present: Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Al Hamra Golf Club. The Els Club, Dubai, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Yas Links Abu Dhabi, Yas Acres and we are also in TOP GOLF Dubai.
We are in discussions with the other golf clubs in the UAE and are confident that we will be making some exciting announcements very shortly.
Gulf News: Explain to the readers what your programme with the golf clubs involves?
Ian: The old system of providing water on-course to golfers involved water towers being hand filled from five-gallon containers and adding ice to keep everything cool, as the golfers then used or 500 ml bottles purchased on-course or provided in the golf cart. This was a very inefficient system, water was being delivered from outside in the five-gallon bottles, which have a life expectancy, and a transport and storage cost, and then physically transported to the water towers across the facility.
We have now installed at The Els Club a permanent infrastructure, still involving the water towers in addition to a centralised filtration chiller unit within the club, a bespoke filling station that uses municipality water that is filtered and purified and there is no need for ice.
The operators of the golf clubs are saving of so much labour time and man hours, as well as a significant purchase cost saving.
The player now has the option of bringing their own bottle, purchasing a branded bottle on check-in in the Pro Shop and the members have their own members’ bottles. So, golfers now fill their bottles from the water towers on course with no need for plastic or paper waste.
Gulf News: How many units do you have at The Els Club?
Ian: We have nine No More Bottles dispensers in operation at The Els Club: on-course plus a players’ filling station outside the locker rooms. The Fitness Centre, The Teaching Academy and in various back of house functions involving staff and management.
Gulf News: What are the saving statistics at The Els Club?
Ian: We conservatively estimate that we have helped eliminate the use of 180,000 x 500 ml bottles since early 2020 at The Els Club.
In addition, there is the financial cost saving to the club, not just the eco-environment benefits.
Gulf News: Any other thoughts before we close?
Ian: What has impressed us is that the hospitality sector is keen to make change, whether this is member or corporate driven, the drive (no pun intended) for change is clearly that there are individuals and corporates interested about our products and services and they are now understanding how they can make the change. Golf club members and golfers are now demanding that plastic bottles are eliminated and we are a solution.
We shouldn’t under estimate the opportunity that the golfing industry has provided our business to showcase what we do, and for that we are eternally grateful. There are too many people to list here who have all played their part, but they know who they are!