Ready for your business to play its part and get rid of single-use plastic? Here are five single-use plastic alternatives to try.
When it comes to single-use plastic, the statistics are pretty shocking. Here are a few from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to refresh your memory:
- There will be as much plastic waste in the oceans as there are fish by 2050.
- Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans. These plastics end up back in the food chain through the fish that we eat.
- Nearly 50% of the plastic waste generated globally in 2015 was plastic packaging, which is mainly single-use plastic.
- Only 15% of plastic waste is recycled due to poor infrastructure and higher prices for recycled content as opposed to new plastic.
To use an example from the tourism sector specifically, it is estimated that in its full capacity, a single four-star hotel with 200 rooms can use around 300,000 pieces of single-use plastic in just a month. It is imperative that your business introduces a plastics management programme. Not only will it benefit the environment but it will also save you money and resources. To help, we have outlined a few alternatives to single use plastic for your business.
Most people heading off on their holidays will pack their own shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, so something to consider is only providing single-use toiletries on request. If you feel strongly that it should be provided, opt for large refillable dispensers instead of the usual tiny single-use bottles.
Stop selling bottled water. Install water fountains on your premises or encourage guests to ask at reception if they want to fill up their reusable water bottles. For hot drinks, introduce incentives to encourage guests to use their reusable cups, to sit in rather than take out and, if you must provide a takeaway cup, ensure that the cups are actually recyclable or compostable. Up to 2.5 billion disposable paper cups are used every year in the UK or 5,000 every minute, and only 1 in 400 are recycled properly.
We know it seems like a lot less hassle to buy your sauces, butters and jams in sachets, but we encourage you to revert back to using ramekins. They are more cost effective and so much more sustainable. However, be wary of the portion size to avoid food waste.
4. Cleaning Products
There are so many amazing chemical-free cleaning products that you can make yourself that will save a lot of money in exchange for a little bit of time. They will also save on plastic waste. Vinegar and baking soda are a godsend when it comes to bathroom cleaners to laundry detergent. If that’s not the direction your establishment wants to go in, buy in bulk, and buy bottles that can be refilled rather than disposed of after one use.
5. The Little Things
Every business loves having some branded material available to give away to their guests, but is it really necessary? There are so many other ways to add details with incentives and events. Cut out coasters or replace with cork ones, replace branded pens with pencils (or cut them out altogether), get rid of bin liners in guest rooms and use material laundry bags.
Adopting the principles of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Replace, Recycle into your business can make a big difference. If you want to learn more about what Ireland is doing as a whole on the waste front, read its Waste Action Plan here.
Join Sustainable Travel Ireland for a practical live webinar on How to Reduce Plastic Waste in your Tourism Business on 26 July 2022. Or sign up for 3 month’s free membership today and access our online Plastics Management course on the house.
Sustainable Travel Ireland is a profit-for-purpose company. Our purpose is simple; we want to transform the Irish tourism industry into one that respects and protects the environment, but also supports local communities and makes better places for people to live and work in. Learn more about what we do here.