Sustainable tourism world news: A toolbox to tackle waste issues in tourism and events

Makesense and SUEZ are the companies responsible for the project Future of waste and the 2018 Wasteless Journeys campaign with a focus on how to manage waste in tourism and events (hotels, hostels, campsites, restaurants, festivals, conferences, congresses, sport, cultural and artistic events). Contents about practical examples and suggestions were collected in a toolbox, divided into four parts such as methodology with procedures on how to start the change, solutions for each waste issue, examples from tourism and event companies and other interesting resources.

Future of waste_sustainable tourism world_STouW

It is worth to remember that 25% of tents (made of plastics and metals) are abandoned after an event and this causes issues as they need a lot of years to decompose. Another fact to be aware of is that 5% of the total CO2 emissions are caused by tourism and 10% is the part in of this industry in the GDP of a country.

The toolbox is available online for everyone interested in the topic and there is the opportunity to register for a free 3-month-course.

Here are some examples from the different industries analyzed:

  • Ecocamp Patagonia (Chile) is a sustainable hotel, which pays attention not only to reduce the use of plastic but also to work with local providers as suppliers for food for the restaurant. 
  • We Love Green Festival (France) is trying to reduce plastic and paper, use recycled materials for the scenography and dry toilets to save water. Overall 74% of the waste was recovered and the same amount of 33 Paris-NY flights CO2 was saved. After the event, a circular economy was developed with the aim of reusing the products for other events. 
  • The Silo Restaurant is a modern zero-waste restaurant, which turns food into compost and uses a mill to transform wheat into flour. Upcycling is used to reuse for example old fashion bags into plates where bread is served.
  • Change Now Summit is a business event, which aims at being sober in the use of installations and decorations and to rent them instead of buying. Recycling and reusing practices are part of the event and it is trying to make attendees aware of the environmental issues. 
  • London Olympic Games is an example of a sport event, which cares about waste disposal.  The organizers followed the British Standard for a Sustainable Event Management System and won the ISO 20121 for Sustainable Event Management. During the event, no waste was sent to landfill and recycling, reusing and composting were used as a method. 

In my opinion, it is an interesting project with practical examples very useful both for companies and organizations who are already implementing changes toward more sustainable management and also for those who haven’t started yet. Among the steps on how to start, it is essential to start from the local context and how to involve stakeholders: this way to look at a project is very important as the success of the business depends on locals’ acceptance.

Mariya Germanova

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