Manic Monday | The UNWTO Takes On Plastic… You Can Too

Midnight Musings from our CEO

Plastic is often attributed to the 1960s, a bi-product of the space program, it was once considered a practical and necessary application that quickly found its way into our everyday life. Yet you might be surprised to learn that first plastic, “polyethylene”, was created in 1898 and it wasn’t long after that, in 1907, as a result of a number of breakthroughs that the product advances resulted in plastic began being mass-produced.

Its popularity grew as it became apparent that plastic was versatile, durable and efficient and most useful in keeping our food supply safe and sanitary. The use of plastic has enabled us to enjoy many products we take for granted but as we know all too well has resulted in disturbing and devastating unintended consequences.

One of the big issues is that plastic lasts; not just years or decades but centuries, and as we know all too well today, it is gravely affecting many aspects of our environment, most critically our oceans and marine life.

This past week the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, officially announced the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.

With a priority to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by the tourism sector, the initiative has laid out the following actionable commitments to be achieved by 2025:

  • 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.

This program is now a focal point of the Sustainable Tourism Programme and One Planet Network. This network currently unites 450 businesses, governments, stakeholders and other partners in a sophisticated and thoughtful approach to the use of plastics.

Eliminate entirely where possible, implement recycling and reusable techniques where appropriate and utilize compostable solutions.

TOTA is committed to this program and you and your business can be too!

Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO

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