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.
Tourism’s plastic pollution problem
Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution. Much of the plastic used in tourism is made to be thrown away and often can’t be recycled, leading to large amounts of pollution.
With 80 per cent of all tourism taking place in coastal areas , plastic pollution from tourism can easily end up in oceans and waterways. For example, in the Mediterranean region alone, marine litter increases by up to 40 per cent during peak tourist season.
The production of more than 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year also depletes natural resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
It’s time for tourism to take on plastic pollution
Tourism companies and destinations have been making great strides towards reducing their environmental impact and operating in harmony with nature. Taking action on plastics pollution and transitioning to circularity in the use of plastics is critical to increase sustainability in the sector, and can help stop plastic ending up as pollution while also reducing the amount of new plastic that needs to be produced.
The problem of plastic pollution in tourism is too big for any single organisation to fix on its own. To match the scale of the problem, changes need to take place across the whole tourism value chain. Which is why tourism stakeholders around the world are working together and taking a systemic approach through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.
A systemic approach
to plastic pollution
Ensure that all other
To keep plastic
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organisations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:
- Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025;
- Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives by 2025;
- Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable;
- Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used
- Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics
- Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.
Supporting the tourism sector to take action on plastic pollution
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative will support companies, destinations, associations, and NGOs through:
Sharing information about the plastic pollution challenge and the solutions being implemented across the sector;
Fostering procurement practices that consider the plastic footprint of products and services and encourage circularity in the use of plastics;
Promoting innovation and facilitating the cooperation between governments, local organisations, and businesses;
Consolidating the progress reported by all signatories and establishing a performance benchmark;
Publicly communicating the actions taken by signatories and showcasing the leadership of the sector.
Tourism can be
part of the solution
Our shared natural environment is one of the tourism sector’s most valuable assets, and tourism companies, destinations, associations and NGOs have an important role to play as custodians of these outdoor spaces.
Through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, the tourism sector can make positive contributions, such as:
- Reducing landfill, pollution, natural resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions;
- Raising awareness of conservation among staff and guests to avoid single-use plastic products;
- Influencing their suppliers to produce more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic products;
- Working with governments to improve local waste infrastructure and community facilities;
- Creating sustainable livelihoods and long-term community prosperity in harmony with nature.
By taking serious action in a coordinated manner on plastic pollution, the tourism sector can help preserve and protect the places and wildlife that make destinations worth visiting.