Plastic Ban in Tourism

Plastic Ban in Tourism ?

Plastic pollution has increased from two million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes in 2017. The plastics industry is expected to double its capacity by 2040.

How could we do without plastic in the 1950s? We are now so used to the benefits of plastic that we don’t even know how to do without it, notwithstanding our sadness at the consequences of its use, from water and air pollution to the loss of nature.

What about tourism ?

Much of the plastic used in tourism is designed to be thrown away and often cannot be recycled. Furthermore, as 80% of tourism takes place in coastal areas, plastic pollution from tourism can easily end up in oceans and rivers.

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General said: “Addressing plastic pollution is essential to sustainably restart tourism, preserve destinations and contribute to climate action. We are proud to see the number of signatories growing continuously since the launch of the initiative.”

The Global Tourism plastic initiative is a systemic approach to plastic pollution.

It requires tourism organization to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025: 

  1. Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items;
  2. Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives;
  3. (Engage the value chain to) move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable;
  4. Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used;
  5. Collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics;
  6. Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.

For more info or to join the global tourism plastic initiative PowerPoint Presentation (


Regulation seems to be necessary anyway to speed up and force industry and services to find alternative ways of doing things.

In 2021, the European ban on some single-use plastic items comes into force. It covers the ten most common single-use plastic items found on European beaches, along with fishing gear, which accounts for 70% of all marine litter in the EU.

The following single use plastic items are fully baned

  • Cotton bud sticks
  • Cutlery, straws and stirrers
  • Balloons and sticks for balloons

For food and beverage containers, EPS containers are totally prohibited, as well as oxo-degradable plastic containers.

At the same time, plastic water bottles will have to contain at least 30% recycled material by 2030.

In November 2022, the EU proposed an amending regulation on packaging and packaging waste. Some forms of unnecessary packaging would be banned, including single-use packaging for food and drink when consumed inside restaurants and cafés, single-use packaging for fruit and vegetables, and miniature shampoo bottles and other miniature packaging in hotels.

Consumers would also be able to choose reusable packaging in restaurants and cafés of a certain capacity of place settings.


And plastic ban grows worldwide,

For example, California law will prohibit the provision of 12-ounce or smaller container in hotels unless request from guest. Hotels with more than 50 rooms will have to comply by 2023 and smaller hotels by 2024. The bill does not apply to Airbnb or other short-term rental platforms.

So there is no reason to wait for the ban if you can switch from plastic more quickly!

For examples, see this nice article from NHL insights listing the actions of hotels and airlines to reduce plastic use.

Going Plastic-Free: Hotels and Airlines Reducing Plastic Use (