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Elimination of single-use plastics in hotel rooms

  • Published on December 18, 2019
In 2019, approximately 250 individual items have been eliminated or removed, what represents more than 500Tn of single use plastic not generated. This number takes into account products with different product models, which count as more than one item. Iberostar was able to replace some items with other, more friendly alternative versions: Plastics garbage bags → Biodegradable bags Plastic straws → paper straws or edible straws Plastic soft drinks → glass or aluminum soft drinks
We firmly believe that by implementing strategies to move beyond plastics and towards a circular economy, we are positively contributing to the solution and protecting our oceans by reducing the amount of waste we produce. Since 2017, strategies at Iberostar have been implemented to move beyond plastics and towards a circular economy – the industrial model to design waste out of our economies, thus moving away from disposing or polluting. In 2018, Iberostar became the first hotel chain to be free of single-use plastics in all its hotel rooms throughout Spain. Iberostar continued to choose bold and far-reaching goals. In 2019, we set out to have all rooms free of single-use plastics in the locations where we operate. The same year in Spain, we moved beyond the client rooms to be single-use plastics free in the entirety of the hotel (within legal restrictions). In 2020, our commitment continues to grow. By the end of 2020, all Iberostar’s hotel operations will be single-use plastic free and one step closer towards a circular economy. Our commitment to a circular economy is embodied by our commitment to remove plastic water bottles. In lieu of alternative packaging, we're investing in our properties, ensuring high quality, potable water fountains are available for our clients. Iberostar strives to be a pioneering company with a goal to become single-use plastic free while continuing to elevate the quality of the experience of its clients. Iberostar’s philosophy focuses on reducing and removing single-use plastic products and replacing remaining items with responsible and reusable alternatives such as rigorously tested biodegradable products. By doing so, Iberostar takes steps towards closing the loop in its own circular economy within the tourism sector. Iberostar became the first hotel chain to be free of single-use plastics in all its hotel rooms throughout Spain. This, along with reductions in plastics through altered purchasing and removal of plastics from common areas, has eliminated more than 500 metric tons of waste each year in Spain. This figure is a result of substituting plastic items such as bottles, appliances, pens, laundry bags, minibar snacks and bottles, slipper bags and wristbands for glass bottles, water fountains, dispensers made of 100% recycled plastic and multi-use recyclables (2,700 kg/year), plant-based bags for rooms, exterior rubbish bins for the kitchens and other areas (134,619 kg/year), pens (3,240 kg/year), laundry bags (3,000 kg/year), ecological packaging for minibar products (900 kg/year), plant-based bags for shoes (420 kg/year) and environmentally-friendly wristbands (1,226 kg/year). Worldwide and in 2017, Iberostar launched an awareness campaign to eliminate traditional plastic straws in their beverages. This reduced usage by 10 million plastic units and substituted them with biodegradable alternatives. In addition, in the Dominican Republic, Iberostar launched a pilot project to remove all water bottles from common areas through the installation of reverse osmosis water treatment stations (Vero water). At the Iberostar headquarters in Palma, Spain, Iberostar eliminated all single-use plastics in the refurbishment, replacing plastic water bottles with reusable stainless-steel bottles. This prevented more than 45,000 bottles annually from generating 1,350 kilograms of plastic waste. In order to solidify Iberostar in the responsible tourism sector, Iberostar works in line with the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy”, which it uses as a framework for promoting recycling and in this way contributing to an improvement in the quality and the future cost of recycled products. In fact, in line with this action, the company has implemented a composting plant pilot program to create fertilizer for the gardens at one of its Spanish hotels. 1. All of Iberostar’s hotel operations will be single-use plastics free by the end of 2020. As an evolution of its achievement to have all hotel rooms free of single-use plastics, Iberostar expands this to the entire hotel (within legal restrictions) taking steps towards a circular economy in plastics. 2. Iberostar will commit to the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy and will partner with the UNWTO and Ellen MacArthur Foundation to serve as a pioneering project for the tourism sector to move towards a circular economy in plastics. It will do so by showcasing (in conferences, through media outlets, and through workshops) its work on eliminating problematic plastic packaging; shifting towards reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging; and moving towards reuse models where possible by 2025. 3. Iberostar will work with the foundation IMPULSA BALEARS in a project supported by the UNWTO in order to build a platform for hotels to track their progress towards a circular economy. This will allow IMPULSA BALEARS to further progress on defining guidelines for a circular economy in the tourism sector and define benchmarks for groups to check their progress.

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