The global challenge that seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind over the last months, and it’s a fact we very much have David Attenborough and his wonderful Blue Planet Programme to thank for, is Plastic Waste!
Anyone who has seen either his programme or indeed the feature film ‘A Plastic Ocean’, which was launched last year, cannot ignore this growing global crisis any longer.
When you see seabirds or fish being found dead due to their stomach filled to the brink with plastic waste, you know that something very fundamental is wrong with our consumption patterns.
This week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London the ‘Plastic’s Issue’ was right at the top of the Agenda- falling under their focus of ‘delivering a more sustainable future’. At the time of writing it was still not clear what the outcomes and commitments were, but the UK government has unveiled plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, as a first step to confront this crisis.
So what can hotels do, to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic? The answer is: A LOT! Let us give you a few ideas:
1.Ban plastic bottles and buy your own filtration water filtration systems, which provide good quality filtered water in both still and fizzy variation. Plus it gives you the opportunity to use the branding of your hotel on the bottles- much smarter than imported bottles from France or Italy!
2. Bathroom Amenities- switch to Spenders. And not plastic ones, which are fixed to your wall – buy glass or ceramic ones, ideally made by a local company, which have the added benefit of supporting your regional economy
3. Avoid plastic wrappings of laundry and slippers- both can be either wrapped in paper or slippers can be given fabric shoe bags once they have been cleaned
4. Purchase fresh food in re-usable crates, which avoids any unnecessary plastic packaging
5. Ban straws- they also sell paper and bamboo straws everywhere
6. Offer reusable cups and drinking bottles for guests who want to take something to drink ‘on-the-go’
7. Work with suppliers who will actively re-cycle or up-cycle plastics, making sure you also separate all plastics at property level.
These are only a few examples of what can be done, as the low-hanging fruits of reducing one’s plastic consumption.
You should also create action lists in each of your departments and identify those products, which you can exchange for other materials. Like this you get your staff involved and can jointly start making changes at all levels.
The reality is, of course, that we need to put pressure on consumer good companies to deliver our products in different packaging and start exploring more sustainable materials.
However, if we start identifying the ‘very harming’ plastics at property level, and start looking for alternatives, those companies will also start feeling the economic squeeze too.
We at Considerate Hoteliers, have a series of suppliers who address these issues already and are happy to make our recommendations or introductions.
Last but not least, focusing on the reduction of plastic use also helps you to address various of the UN SDG’s, starting off with No 12 around ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ but also No 14- ‘Life Under Water’, as it would reduce the overflow of plastic into our Oceans.
So this is our call to action for Spring 2018, and your way to #makeadifference and #getinvolved. Let’s make sure our future does not drown in plastic.