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WTTC and UNEP Released New Report on Single-use Plastic Products

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)  and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently launched a major new report, addressing the complex issue of single-use plastic products within travel and tourism.

‘Rethinking Single-Use Plastic Products in Travel & Tourism’ launches as countries around the world begin to reopen, and the travel and tourism sector starts to show signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which has been devastating.

The report is a first step to mapping single-use plastic products across the travel and  tourism value chain, identifying hotspots for environmental leakages, and providing practical and strategic recommendations for businesses and policymakers.

It is intended to help stakeholders take collective steps towards coordinated actions and policies that drive a shift towards reduce and reuse models, in line with circularity principles, as well as current and future waste infrastructures.

The report’s recommendations include redefining unnecessary single-use plastic products in the context of one’s own business; giving contractual preference to suppliers of reusable products; proactively planning procedures that avoid a return to single-use plastic products in the event of disease outbreaks; supporting research and innovation in product design and service models that decrease the use of plastic items, and revising policies and quality standards with waste reduction, and circularity in mind.

Single-use plastic products can be a threat to the environment and human health and without deliberate effort across the sector, travel and tourism can and will contribute significantly to the issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had both negative and positive impacts on single-use plastics pollution.

The demand for single-use plastics items has increased with safety being a high concern among tourists and take-away services being on the rise. According to the Thailand Environment Institute, plastic waste has increased from 1,500 tons to a staggering 6,300 tons per day, owing to soaring home deliveries of food.