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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 managing waste in tourism and events (hotels, hostels, campsites, restaurants, festivals, conferences, congresses, sports, cultural and artistic events). Contents about practical examples and suggestions were collected in a toolbox, divided into four parts, methodology with procedures for starting the change, solutions for each waste issue, examples from tourism and event companies and other exciting resources.

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It is worth remembering 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 part of this industry in a country’s GDP.

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:

  • For instance, Ecocamp Patagonia (Chile) is a sustainable hotel that pays attention to reducing plastic use and working with local providers as suppliers of food for restaurants. 
  • We Love Green Festival (France) is trying to reduce plastic and paper, use recycled materials for the scenography and dry toilets to save water. As a result, 74% of the waste was recovered, and the same amount of 33 Paris-NY flights CO2 was held. Furthermore, a circular economy was developed after the event to reuse 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. In addition, upcycling is used to reuse, for example, old fashion bags into plates where bread is served.
  • Change Now Summit is a business event aiming to be sober in using installations and decorations and renting them instead of buying them. 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 sporting 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 exciting project with practical examples that are very useful for companies and organizations already implementing changes toward more sustainable management and those who haven’t started yet. Among the steps on how to start, it is essential to withdraw from the local context and how to involve stakeholders: this way of looking at a project is significant as the success of the business depends on locals’ acceptance.

Mariya Germanova