Huge awareness has been raised around the topic of plastic in the last few years with many people radically reducing their use of single-use plastic consumption, but the Covid pandemic now threatens to derail that progress. It has been reported that businesses have also begun to shy away from their environmentally friendly practices due to Covid. 22,000 single-use coffee cups are currently being disposed of in Ireland, per hour. Marine conservationists have reported a rise in Covid waste in oceans and local litter-pickers are also stating that they are finding more and more PPE dispersed around our cities and along our coastline.
It is time for a reminder! Changes can be difficult to make, but starting off small can still have a great impact.
1. Reusable Cotton Masks
Research proves that cotton masks are equally as effective as surgical masks. But they have an even more powerful feature – they are reusable! Supply your staff and customers with reusable cotton masks or encourage the use of one. Why not add your brand to the mask? It could be a valuable marketing opportunity.
2. Litter Picking – 2 Minute Beach Clean
Why not have a monthly litter picking event with your staff? Or encourage a 2-minute beach clean with your customers? The Clean Coasts campaign is helping beaches nationwide to maintain their blue flag status – be a part of it!
3. No-Car Day
Cars are one of our planet’s biggest pollutants. 72% of the total CO2 emissions created by transport is generated by road transportation. Cars also create an exaggerated amount of traffic on our roads which can lead to high stress levels even before entering the office. Carpooling is definitely a beneficial idea, but promoting a no-car day, where people choose another form of transport, can have an even greater impact. Why not encourage your staff to dust off their bike and cycle to work! Maybe you could offer staff a subsidy towards public transport costs.
4. Rethink Your Packaging
In recent years, our news feeds have been filled with stories about plastic. Stories include the worrying rise in the deaths of hermit crabs due to them confusing plastic objects for shells, and how by 2050 almost all seabird species will be ingesting plastic particles. Check out our latest post on the various alternatives available.
5. Provide Chemical-Free Water Stations And Reusable Water Bottles
Did you know that approximately one million plastic bottles per minute are sold worldwide and for each of those bottles three litres of water is used in their production? Encourage the use of reusable bottles among your staff and customers and collectively we will reduce this number.
6. Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
One million sea creatures die per year due to plastic consumption. Marine life ingesting plastic will travel along the food chain and eventually reach our plates. Habits need to change. Businesses must become environmental leaders. Small changes may include offering reusable straws and asking if a customer wants a straw. On many occasions, they prefer not to use one. The same goes with bags.
Ireland is one of the top performers in recycling in Europe and has surpassed all EU recycling and recovery targets for 2019. Starting with these small changes mentioned above, together we can do even better for this year’s targets. Make your tourism/travel business a sustainability trailblazer during this pandemic. Be creative and lead the sustainable way!