ABTA contributes to Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

ABTA has announced its contribution to the co-creation of the new Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, which has been launched to stop plastic ending up as pollution and reduce the amount of new plastic that needs to be produced. 

Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 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.

As a member of the Advisory Committee for the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, ABTA is contributing to the co-creation of the initiative and development of a menu of commitments that outlines the expected contributions from the private sector, destinations, associations, and NGO’s in the sector to define concrete roadmaps for implementation of the Initiative by 2025.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organisations to make actionable commitments by 2025, to: 

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items 
  • Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives 
  • 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.

By being part of the Initiative tourism companies and destinations commit to eliminate unnecessary plastic items; innovate so all plastics needed are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything used to keep it in the economy and out of the environment. 

Clare Jenkinson, ABTA Senior Destinations & Sustainability Manager, said:

“Sustainability has been on the agenda for many UK travel businesses for some time, and the industry is addressing environmental and social impacts of tourism. Managing plastic better is part of this and through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative travel companies will have the vital opportunity to report on their progress and collaborate with destinations and other industry players at a global level.

“ABTA has been supporting its Members to tackle plastic as part of a waste management approach through our Travelife for Accommodation hotel certification scheme, our guidance for travel companies on managing plastics and also Make Holidays Greener.” 

ABTA’s Make Holidays Greener campaign, run in partnership with Travelife, encourages holidaymakers and the industry to take action to create better places to live in, and better places to visit. The theme for the Make Holidays Greener 2018 campaign was ‘Say no to plastic’ and in 2019 ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, together resulting in over 2,500 consumer pledges and just under 4,000 tonnes of waste reduced, reused, recycled or removed from the environment.  ABTA also promote waste management in destinations such as Tunisia through its Sustainable Tourism Charter. 

Gerald Naber, New Plastics Economy Global Commitment Programme Manager, said:
“The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment unites more than 450 businesses, governments and others behind a clear vision of a circular economy for plastics. We welcome the launch of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by UNEP and UNWTO, which unites the tourism sector behind this vision for a world in which plastic never becomes waste or pollution.

“It will be a challenging journey, but through concerted action, we can eliminate the plastics we don’t need and innovate, so the plastics we do need can be safely and easily circulated – keeping them in the economy and out of the environment.” 

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