Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

Sustainable First is a proud signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. As a signatory of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, we endorse the common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution, you can find out more about our commitment here.

We commit to eliminate the plastic items we don’t need; innovate so all plastics we do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.

Tourism companies and destinations have been making great strides towards reducing their environmental impact and operating in harmony with nature. Yet, 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. Therefore tourism stakeholders around the world are working together and taking a systemic approach through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.

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.

It’s time for tourism to take on plastic pollution

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organizations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:

  1. Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items;
  2. Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives;
  3. (Engage the value chain to) move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  4. Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used;
  5. Collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics;
  6. Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.

A systemic approach to plastic pollution

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative will support companies, destinations, associations and NGOs through:

  • Sharing information about actions and solutions to the plastic pollution challenge being implemented across the sector;
  • Fostering sustainable procurement practices and collaboration with suppliers;
  • Promoting collaboration at destination level to improve waste management practices;
  • Consolidating and disseminating the progress reported by all signatories;
  • Showcasing the leadership of the sector.

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.

Tourism can be part of the solution

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is an opportunity for tourism companies, destinations, associations and NGOs to step forward as global leaders addressing the root causes of plastic pollution.

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.

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