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Responsible tourism and sustainable hotels: how to eliminate single-use plastic

Together with climate change and the global loss of biodiversity, the reduction of single-use plastic is one of the great environmental challenges facing the 21st century society. Tourism is not left out of this challenge, because on the one hand it is a sector that generates a lot of plastics, and on the other hand the tsunami of waste and debris forgotten in nature and in the sea negatively impacts the tourist experience in many destinations of the world.

In its eagerness to be drivers of changes to influence the Spanish tourism sector and promote more sustainable and environmentally friendly business models, we have started an exclusive collaboration with Travel Without Plastic (TWP) to be its representatives in Spain. This alliance seeks to inspire the Spanish hotel industry to catalyze the change to plastic-free operational models.

We currently work with charming local hotels and hotels with sustainable certification, but the TWP model and training offers comprehensive solutions to completely reduce the use of single-use plastic elements in all departments of a hotel. Through a series of trainings and the follow-up of several key documents, directors, managers and employees can begin to change habits, seek alternatives to current products and motivate customers to perceive these changes in a positive way, involving them in the plastic reduction process.

Recent studies such as those prepared by WWF or Seas at Risk show that Spain consumes 10% of all single-use plastics in Europe, being the country that spills more plastic in the Mediterranean. The fact that the Mediterranean coast has a high tourist density, putting great pressure on ecosystems, is undoubtedly one of the axes of work to make the sector more sustainable.

However, coastal hotels (and also inland), can generate a significant change in this aspect, since a small 6% of plastics is recycled in Europe. At this point, the potential for improvement is very broad but it can be frustrating for hotel managers to identify where to start. For this reason, we seek to help hotel entrepreneurs who want to make a difference, to anticipate to future regulations around the use of plastics and lead change in the sector.

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