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Featured:

Guava Amenities, Considerate Group, Jaya House Hotels 

In this edition

Focus on:
From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution 
Building Back Better
Evaluate the use of unavoidable plastic packaging and items

Newsletter - November 2021

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) is happy to share the 3rd issue of its newsletter. The newsletter aims at disseminating the progress achieved by the signatories of the initiative, as well as connected relevant information. This edition features interviews from three inspiring GTPI signatories, as well as information about the latest events, reports, guidance documents, and campaigns working on the establishment of the circular economy of plastics. 

FEATURED

Three different types of businesses reflect on how they promote the circular economy of plastics 


The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) proposes a systemic approach to plastic pollution where first, we eliminate all problematic and unnecessary plastic items; second, we innovate to ensure that the plastics which are still in use are reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and third, we circulate, to keep plastics in the economy instead of in the environment.
The GTPI brings together all sizes and types of businesses and value chain stakeholders to share best practices, knowledge, and experience. This diversity highlights the sectoral need for a systemic response to plastic pollution and the GTPI's potential to promote solutions that can be implemented locally and scaled up globally. 

The following interviews show how Guava Amenities, Considerate Group and Jaya House, three signatories of the GTPI, are addressing address plastic pollution each at their scale to promote the shift towards circularity in the use of plastics. 

The interviews were conducted by Sustainable First, also a signatory of the GTPI.

Guava Amenities – Director, Gabriel Tan

GUAVA Amenities has been specializing in holistic guest amenities since 2004. GUAVA collaborates with global and regional hospitality groups in more than 25 countries. GUAVA follows three principles: global consistency in brand standards, local efficiency in solution competitiveness, and social legacy in environmental as well as community partnership.

Q: What drove you to reduce plastic in your products and packaging? 

A: A single 200-room hotel can generate about 300,000 pieces of single-use plastic in a month. 20% consist of the hotel amenities. Based on the number of hotels worldwide of more than 180,000, the estimated amount of single-use plastic waste from hotel amenities is more than 10 billion pieces of plastics. Given that our clients reach millions of people around the world, we feel a sense of responsibility to contribute towards the betterment of communities and the environment.

Q: Hotels often tell us that they have difficulties in engaging with suppliers to reduce plastic in products and packaging. What advice would you give to them? 

A: Plastics and packaging reduction requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders and many times requires sacrificing short-term profits for long-term gain. By first trying to identify like-minded supplier(s) that align to their business, hotels could have a better chance of having more meaningful engagement and impact on reducing plastics in products and packaging. 

Q: What advice would you give to suppliers who are hesitating to reduce plastic in their products and packaging?

A: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century in a business-as-usual scenario (https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/). Given this climate emergency and the impact of climate change, everyone needs to play their part to decarbonize the global economy and start restoring the environment. We only have one Earth. We have to start now, in order to help our future generations live a better tomorrow.

 
To read the full interview, click here

Considerate Group - Co-founder, Xenia zu Hohenlohe

The Considerate Group advises and consults hospitality businesses and hotels on how to integrate sustainability into their operations at all levels, following the Sustainable Development Goals as guiding principles. The Considerate Group supports the creation of strategies for hotels to reduce resource consumption, plastic, and other waste and advises on supply chain management, behavioral change, communication initiatives, reporting and measuring.

Q: What is your strategy in guiding and advising hospitality businesses and hotels in tackling plastic pollution?

A: The first step is always to understand the current situation. What single-use plastics exist within the business? Once there is an understanding of what is currently in use, decisions can be made about where items can be reduced. Procurement decisions and actions are key when looking to reduce waste of any kind, including plastics. Plastics arrive at your business in the form of delivery packaging, individual product wrapping, and products themselves. More and more guests and consumers are aware of the impact of throwaway plastic and are, therefore, likely to support decisions to reduce it within your operation.

Q: What benefits/ positive outcomes have been observed by your clients in implementing your strategies in reducing plastic consumption?

A: Communication is important to the effective implementation of any plastic reduction strategy – the most successful hotels have been those who have also engaged their guests in the programme through signage that explains the process and involving them in decision-making and feedback. 

Q: What challenges have you been confronted with in your implementation/promotion of a circular economy of plastics, and how did you manage to overcome them?

A: Concerns around hygiene and safety have definitely played a role since the impact of COVID-19 hit. There was an initial tendency to wrap everything in plastic and replace reusable items with throwaway ones in the belief that this would be safer. Science later showed that plastic was no safer than any other material, and regular cleaning was more important.

To read the full interview, click here

Jaya House - Managing Director, Christian de Boer

Located alongside the Siem Reap River in Cambodia, Jaya House River Park is a small hotel with 36 rooms, two swimming pools, a spa and an all-day dining restaurant. The hotel is almost fully single-use plastic free and supports four different NGOs in greater Siem Reap.
 
Q: Why is committing to tackle plastic pollution important to you?

A: In Cambodia, the tourism industry alone uses 4.6 million single-use plastic water bottles a month. Many of those bottles and plastic bags eventually end up in the river, landfills, rice fields or oceans. It's time to make a real effort.

Q: How did you manage to become plastic free? Could you share specific examples with us that could inspire others?

A: That was such an easy process. In fact, far easier than expected. All it took was a meeting with all our delivery companies and explaining our philosophy. Once explained, they were instantly on board. The second meeting was with our complete staff to explain the ideas, and they were also rather positive and supportive. Many items have been replaced with multiple use containers, such as for suppliers. We give each supplier a batch of linen bags, which, when delivered to us full, is being replaced with an empty one ready for the next delivery. Fresh meat or fish suppliers have been given reusable & sealable multi-use containers to transport their produce in. After use, a good clean ensures the containers are ready for their next usage.

Q: How did the COVID-19 crisis impact your activities against plastic pollution? 

A: Unfortunately, the hotel is currently closed (we are hoping to re-open in the near future). We have used the current downtime to prepare ourselves for the after COVID-19 era, which will see a rather different type of guest that is far more aware and now likely demands a plastic free environment.  

To read the full interview, click here

USEFUL MATERIALS

Addressing pollution from single-use plastic products: A Life Cycle Approach – Key messages for tourism businesses

In March 2019, UN Environment Programme was requested by the Fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly to make available existing information on the full life cycle environmental impacts of plastic products compared to products of alternative materials. As a result, the UNEP-hosted Life Cycle Initiative conducted a series of meta-analyses of LCA studies on single-use plastic products and their alternatives, whose findings are summarized in the report "Addressing Single-Use Plastic Products Pollution Using a Life Cycle Approach". Read the report here.

In 2021, a tourism specific guidance document in line with this report was published by the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. This document titled “Addressing pollution from single-use plastics products: A Life Cycle Approach – Key messages for tourism businesses” summarises, from the perspective of the tourism sector, the key findings of the Life Cycle Initiative’s report series. This document highlights the role of reuse models to eliminate the use of unnecessary and problematic plastic items, outlines the aspects upon which engagement throughout the value chain is required to spur innovation, and reinforces the need for context-based approaches to ensure plastics are circulated back into the economy rather than thrown away after use. Focusing on plastic bottles, plastic cups, plastic bags, takeaway food packaging and tableware, it supports tourism businesses and destinations to identify the most appropriate solutions for their context. 

The report “Addressing pollution from single-use plastics products: A Life Cycle Approach – Key messages for tourism businesses” (new design) is now available here. Translations of the document in 5 official UN languages (French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian) will be made available in the upcoming weeks.

Watch this short YouTube video on Single-Use Plastic Products (SUPP) and their alternatives. #chooseToReuse

Refill, not Landfill 

Founded in 2016 by Christian de Boer (Jaya House Hotels) and Dean McLachlan (JustRide Motorbike Adventures), Refill Not Landfill is a global campaign to reduce single-use plastic drinking bottles and other single-use plastic waste. It aims to encourage the use of reusable drinking bottles and replace millions of single-use plastic bottles and offers free water refill stations at participating businesses and partners around the world.

You can learn more about the project and access the map referencing refill stations around you here.

Guidance on the Reduction of Single-Use Plastic

In the frame of its industry project, "Plastic-free holiday on Balearic Islands", Futouris has created guidance on how to reduce (single-use) plastic together with Travel Without Plastic and Save The Med. The guidance supports hotels and tourism businesses in finding more sustainable alternatives to commonly used single-use plastic products such as plastic water bottles, straws, cutlery, or cups. 
The guidance notably details a step-by-step plan on how to start, how to monitor and record results, and to communicate about single-use plastic reduction to guests, staff and suppliers. The guidance also provides tips on how to improve waste separation and collection to facilitate recycling. 
Lastly, the document offers practical advice on how to maintain hygiene standards whilst simultaneously avoiding unnecessary single-use plastic products. 

You can download the guidance here

The GTPI brochure is available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish

The GTPI has witnessed a growing interest from stakeholders around the world willing to address plastic pollution. To support their needs and continue disseminating the opportunity to follow a concerted approach to plastic pollution, the brochure of the initiative has now been translated into all UN languages. Please access them here: ArabicChineseFrenchRussian and Spanish.

FOCUS ON


From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution

What do the deepest point in the ocean, the Mariana trench, and the highest mountain peak in the world, Mt. Everest, have in common? Despite being among the planet's most remote and inaccessible environments, they both contain tiny pieces of plastic from human activities miles away. Plastics are the largest, most harmful and most persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85 per cent of total marine waste.
The assessment "From Pollution to Solution" examines the magnitude and severity of marine litter and plastic pollution and reviews existing solutions and actions. The report shows that there is a growing threat in all ecosystems from source to sea. It also shows that while we have the know-how, we need political will and urgent action by governments to tackle the mounting crisis. The report will inform discussions at UNEA 5.2 in February 2022, where countries will come together to decide a way forward for global cooperation. 

Read more about the report here, explore the visual feature here, and watch the launch event held on 21 October here.

You can find other tools and resources to implement the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative here

BUILDING BACK BETTER

Recommendations for a responsible recovery:  
evaluate the use of unavoidable plastic packaging and items, enquire about their recyclability, and reassess needs on a regular basis

To promote a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and help tourism sector stakeholders to make informed decisions, in each edition of the newsletter, our team highlights one of the recommended actions from the Recommendations to tourism stakeholders with the aim of supporting them to continue fighting plastic pollution during the COVID-19 recovery.
  • Increased use of disposable items puts additional pressure on the waste management infrastructure of destinations and can also increase costs and liability to manage waste streams. As such, if single-use plastic packaging/items cannot be avoided, it is advisable to give preference to recyclable/ compostable plastic and/or plastic packaging/items with recycled content. 
  • Considering the capacity of the available waste management infrastructure, as well as reducing, sorting, and separating plastic waste to avoid mixing with hazardous waste is also crucial to ensure that plastic waste is processed in a sustainable and circular manner (recyclable or compostable). 
  • When opting for a single-use plastic packaging or item, this measure should only be considered temporary. Operational needs should be reviewed on a regular basis in light of the latest available scientific and public health advice. 

Learn more on how the tourism sector can continue taking action on plastic pollution during COVID-19 recovery
 

ABOUT


The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses, governments, and other tourism stakeholders to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards circularity in the use of plastics and requires tourism organizations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025.
 
Join the initiative and be part of the solution to plastic pollution

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