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Our Environment

Koh Tao is one of the most environmentally focused destinations in Thailand. Learn about the local initiatives that help us preserve our island paradise.

Koh Tao is big on environmentally-friendly practices. Our small island relies on its pristine beaches, clear blue ocean, and picturesque landscape to keep tourists returning year after year. So the local community is passionate about environmental issues and pulling together to make the island a clean and sustainable destination of choice. 

Freediving | Koh Tao Tourism Association
Sea Turtle | Koh Tao Tourism Association
Green Turtle
Wreathed Hornbill | Koh Tao Tourism Association
Wreathed Hornbill

Island Initiatives

From proactively reducing waste to putting a whole heap of energy into research and sustainability projects, Koh Tao goes the extra mile when it comes to protecting and conserving our environment.

Styrofoam Ban

Styrofoam is toxic to our environment. It takes over 500 years to decompose and releases harmful chemicals in the process. Styrofoam containers were banned on Koh Tao in 2011. All takeaway containers are now biodegradable or reusable, and many businesses will give discounts to customers who bring their own containers when collecting orders.

Plastic Reduction

More tourists equate to a higher demand for drinking water. But this doesn’t have to mean more single-use plastic waste. There are several initiatives on Koh Tao to reduce the use of plastic for water consumption:

Eco Bottles

Available at many businesses on Koh Tao, reusable bottles reduce plastic waste (and are much better at keeping your drinks cool on hot, sunny days). There’s even a specific Koh Tao Eco Bottle. Purchase one at any participating business and receive free refills from any of the 15+ companies involved.

Glass Bottles

Reusable glass water refills are available through a few different providers. A deposit is required for the first order to cover the crates and glass. After that, empty crates can be switched for full ones on demand.

Reusable Bags

 You’ll hardly ever see a local carrying a plastic bag, and currently, there is a big push for supermarkets and Seven-Eleven stores to stop providing them. Reusable fabric bags are sold around the island and are commonplace in everyday use.

Clean Ups

All reputable dive centers organize land and sea cleanups regularly, and some even have entire eco divisions with courses and workshops available. However, many collaborations and independent groups also run regular cleanups to remove plastic and other litter from our shorelines.

Recycling Projects

What to do with all the plastic and trash that is collected? There are some fantastic recycling and upcycling initiatives on Koh Tao, including:

  • Transforming plastic waste into plant pot holders, coasters, jewelry, and more. 
  • Making organic soap, shampoos, detergents, toilet cleaners, and mosquito repellant from food and vegetable waste. 
  • Using fallen or discarded wood and bamboo to make furniture and light fittings. 
  • Upcycling old containers to make bags and floor mats.

Turtle Releases

A selection of residents are working on increasing the island’s turtle population. In partnership with the DMCR (Department of Marine & Coastal Resources), these initiatives raise, research, observe, and release turtles to bolster and increase the health of the overall population.

Sustainability Projects

Community gardens, organic composting, solar panel installations, and the natural production of biogas are just a few strategies some local businesses are using to decrease their consumption levels and work towards more sustainable practices.

Data Collection and Research

As an island known globally as a SCUBA diving mecca, it should be no surprise that the community is active in marine data collection and research. From surveying coral reefs to monitoring marine life populations and reporting sightings of key indicator species, the entire diving community plays a role in marine conservation.

How You Can Help

Whether you are on Koh Tao for a day, a week, a month, or a year, we ask for your cooperation in keeping Koh Tao clean, safe, and beautiful for our next visitors. Here are a few easy ways you can help.

Say No to Plastic

As an island known Even if you don’t have room for extra reusable containers and bottles in your luggage, you can still say no to plastic straws in your drinks and plastic bags when you shop. Every little helps!

Please Don’t Litter

When it rains, trash from the land gets washed down to the beach. And what’s left on the beach ends up in the ocean. So enjoy the scenery and take in the sights as much as you want. But please protect our beaches and precious marine life by taking your trash with you when you go.

Get Involved!

Do your bit for the environment and snag yourself some holiday souvenirs at the same time by purchasing a reusable straw, bottle, or bag. You can also sign up for a recycling or upcycling workshop, take an eco-tour, or join one of the many clean-up initiatives. The more, the merrier!

Whale Shark | Koh Tao Tourism Association
Sairee Beach

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