According to a report by WWF, each year over 200 million tourists visit the Mediterranean coast.* The presence of tourists and tourism businesses helps support the local economies and is, in many areas the main source of income. The Balearic Islands are one clear example of this.
Naturally, increased pressure from human activities also brings with it consequences for the natural environment. For example, in tourist destinations such as the Balearic Islands, tourism accounts for a significant share of plastic waste which increases by more than 30 percent in the summer months.
Those who have been following Save The Med’s work closely know that our “Plastic Free Balearics” – team have been working together with Futouris, a sustainability initiative for the German tourism industry, to reduce plastic waste generation in the tourism sector. As a result of this collaboration, Futouris has recently published a guide on how to reduce (single-use) plastic in hotels and tourism businesses.
The guide, which was developed as part of the industry project “Plastic-free holidays in the Balearic Islands”, presents alternatives to the most commonly used single-use plastic products. The various products are presented based on their impact on the environment so that businesses can easily choose the alternatives that work best for them while considering the environmental impact.
About the Guide
The guide was developed as part of the project “Plastic-free holidays in the Balearic Islands”, in which Futouris members cooperate with the government of the Balearic Islands and local NGOs such as Travel Without Plastic and Save The Med Foundation to actively tackle plastic pollution. Concepts and measures for the reduction of plastic waste were developed together with local hoteliers and other partners from the tourism industry.
The guide supports tourism businesses in finding more sustainable alternatives to commonly used single-use plastic products. For example, different alternatives are suggested for plastic bottles, miniature toiletries, plastic-wrapped bathroom items, slippers, straws, plastic tableware and take-away boxes. The recommended alternatives are rated according to their sustainability performance based on the Honest Alternatives to Plastic Index (HAPI) developed by Save The Med Foundation. Among other factors, the index compares the impact of the used materials on the environment, their recyclability and the existing disposal options for the materials. The guide aso includes cost-benefit analysis of some common products as well as communication suggestions for how to explain the new changes to guests and customers.
Prof. Dr. Harald Zeiss, CEO of Futouris, is convinced: “Most single-use plastic products are easy to replace. But many companies don’t know the possibilities. This is where our guidance comes in: We offer tourism businesses worldwide a clear selection of more sustainable alternatives. This saves companies time and reduces plastic waste along the entire tourism value chain ”.
As the project continues, the suggested measures developed to reduce plastic consumption will be evaluated together with the businesses that participate in the project in regard to their feasibility and potential cost-savings for the hotels.
Download the guide at www.futouris.org. Visit the News section and click on the article “Futouris publishes guidance on how to reduce (single-use) plastic in tourism businesses” dated 2/3 2021. To the bottom right of the articles you will find download links. Download the “Futouris Guidance – How to reduce single use plastic.”
To learn more about Save The Med’s projects, follow us on social media @savethemed and download our recently published 2020 Annual Report!
About our collaborators:
“Preserving the heritage of holiday destinations and developing a sustainable future for the travel industry – that is what Futouris stands for! Our members are committed to the improvement of living conditions, the conservation of biological diversity and environment and to climate protection. Our aim is to help – in the long term, comprehensively and sustainably. All measures are planned and implemented in close collaboration with the local people.“
Travel Without Plastic
“Travel Without Plastic is an organisation established by tourism and sustainability professionals to provide practical advice and implement strategies to reduce unnecessary single-use plastic consumption, creating environmental benefits, reducing costs and engaging staff and customers from across the tourism sector. Travel Without Plastic created a range of online tools including the Let’s Reduce Single-Use Toolkit which is available on their website.”
*Data from WWF’s Report “Out of the plastic trap. Saving the Mediterranean from plastic pollution”