Great interest in innovative solutions for a plastic-free holiday
Berlin, June 13, 2019. As part of the joint industry project of Futouris and the government of the Balearic Islands the stakeholders of the project discussed the results of the preliminary study with ten hotels during a workshop in Palma and jointly developed innovative measures for the reduction of plastic waste and improving the recycling on the islands.
The very well attended workshop started with the presentation of the the results of the pre-study carried out in May in ten hotels in Majorca. In this pre-study it was determined during a tour in the participating partner hotels of the Futouris member companies DER Touristik, schauinsland-reisen, Thomas Cook and TUI as well as in interviews with hotel management, selected employees and guests in which areas and for which purposes single-use plastic items are used. Furthermore, already implemented reduction measures and possible potentials, e.g. alternative products such as edible straws or water refill stations and options for their use in hotel operations were discussed and the waste disposal and recycling process in each municipality was examined.
Working together in order to reduce plastic waste, to improve recycling and to protect the Mediterranean Sea and Balearic beaches from further plastic pollution: this was the goal why a total of 40 representatives from key stakeholders involved in the current Futouris industry project “Plastic free holidays on Balearic Islands” met. Hotel directors, representatives of the Futouris member companies and the tourism and environment ministries of the Balearic Islands discussed with local and international partners innovative solutions and practical measures in the tourism industry. Futouris CEO Prof. Dr. Harald Zeiss is pleased about the great interest in the workshop: “This shows us that the awareness of the problem of plastic pollution in the tourism industry and the need for practicable solutions are very high. Therefore, we’ve taken exactly the right path with our industry project.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister of the Balearic Islands, Isabel Busquets, welcomed the participants of the workshop and expressed her satisfaction with the active interest of hoteliers and tour operators: “The reduction of plastics will bring us further on the way to sustainable tourism which the Balearic Government went four years ago. By focusing on sustainability we even have the opportunity to stand out as a tourism destination and offer a differentiated experience.”
Plastic water bottles have been identified as one of the biggest sources of plastic waste. They are provided to guests in almost every hotel and are perceived as difficult to replace, especially on excursions. Miniature toiletries and plastic-wrapped shower caps, nail or shoe care sets and slippers are also frequently provided in the guest rooms. Another big challenge are the large quantities of plastic packaging of delivered food.
In order to develop innovative and practicable solutions for the identified problem areas local and international experts presented different approaches in their workshops. For example, the organizations Save The Med, Cleanwave.org and Travel Without Plastic showed ways and alternatives to reduce common plastic products and gave tips on how to communicate the engagement to customers and hotel staff. For example, Save the Med is launching a comprehensive program to analyze the impact of various plastic items and packaging materials to support hotels making informed decisions about reduction programs, while Cleanwave is driving the development of a network of accessible drinking water refills in Mallorca to eliminate the need for plastic water bottles. Furthermore, representatives of the waste authorities informed about the contents of the new waste law of the Balearic Islands that was adopted in 2018. Also, a representative from Iberostar Hotels & Resorts presented their marine conservation and plastics reduction program “Wave of Change” as best practice and inspiration.
Based on the results and information from the partners’ impulses, the participants and experts jointly developed practical pilot measures that will be tested in the participating hotels over the coming months as part of the industry project.
Reducing the plastic waste generated by tourism and improving the recycling of unavoidable plastic waste on Balearic Islands – these are the goals of the industry project "Plastic-free holidays on the Balearic Islands" the Futouris members are implementing together with the Government of the Balearic Islands.