The Travel Without Plastic team has a HUGE goal.....
To prevent ONE BILLION single-use plastic items from entering the global waste stream, or worse, our natural environments by the end of 2020.....
And we'd love to count your achievements as part of this!
Travel Without Plastic is the result of consistent and infuriating personal encounters with unnecessary single-use plastics in hotels, large and small, mainstream and boutique, since way back 2010, but with the final straw (so to speak) coming in 2017 when I experienced what can only be described as a 'Styrofoam breakfast'.
Every single thing was single-use.....plastic cutlery, individually wrapped in its own plastic sleeve, a Styrofoam bowl with a matching plate and cup, not to mention the single use butters, jam pots and various other bakery items also wrapped in plastic. Aside from the environmental issues, single-use plastic does little to enhance quality, and I just thought, there has to be a better way!
I did the maths and worked out that this pretty average sized hotel was contributing almost 400,000 items of plastic waste to landfill every year just from breakfast cutlery and crockery alone. What about the miniature toiletries in the bathroom, what about the plastic cups to help yourself to fruit infused water in reception, what about the 'to-go' coffee service? The list just went on but I couldn't. I couldn't contribute to it anymore.
Taking everything into consideration, this one hotel could produce just under ONE MILLION individual items every year based on just 2 people sharing a room and being occupied just 80% of the time. Considering that rooms were designed for families of 4 and it could operate at a much higher occupancy, the potential for this to be way above one million is certainly very real.
I did the maths....
6 pieces of plastic per breakfast per person
146 double or twin rooms
80% occupancy based on a 12 month operation
A grand total of
individual pieces of plastic from this one hotel in a year.....
just from breakfast cutlery and crockery!
We all now know that the world oceans are drowning in plastic, it’s killing wildlife in huge numbers, polluting beaches and even harming human health as it gets into the food chain. Consumers are waking up and they don’t stop caring when they go on holiday, yet many of the hotels they stay in will often be contributing to the problem.
I set off to ask hotels 'What are the barriers to changing from single-use plastics to reusable items'?
Lack of knowledge of alternatives,
Availability of alternatives,
Concerns over health and safety
Concerns of the true environmental impact of the alternatives
Worried about customer reactions
Not knowing how to communicate the changes to customers
It could make extra work for staff
This is when I realised that each hotel could make a difference. We created 'Let's Reduce Single-Use', a Toolkit to help hotels and accommodation providers reduce or eliminate single-use plastics whilst answering all of their concerns and providing realistic, practical, affordable recommendations.
Hotels can adapt to changing customer attitudes, reduce costs, steal a march on increasingly likely legislation, make it easier for their guests to tread more lightly on the environment and significantly reduce the amount of plastic entering their local waste streams by implementing ideas contained within The Lets Reduce Single-Use Guide & Toolkit.