New guidance designed to support travel companies in tackling their use of plastics is being issued by Abta.

The advice, available from today (Wednesday), has been developed to support the travel industry develop, plan and monitor their approach to plastic and waste.

The ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ guidelines will support businesses to develop a long-term strategy by looking at possible actions and broader considerations, such as health and safety.

It says that any strategy needs to look at ways to reduce plastic in the first place, move from single-use items to reusable items, encourage recycling or seek credible alternatives.

A five-step process that travel companies can adopt is offered, based on the approach outlined by Abta’s ‘Better Places’ sustainability programme, and highlights examples of what businesses have done to tackle the use of plastics. 

The guidance also looks at how travel companies can respond to existing and future legislation.

A European Single-use Plastic Directive plans to ban single use items, set stricter rules on bottle recycling by 2025 and put reduction targets in place for drinks cups and food containers.

Abta destinations and sustainability director Nikki White said: “While businesses are clearly putting plans in place, we also know that travel companies want to develop a long-term strategy in tackling the use of plastics, and are keen to make sure they aren’t introducing an approach which could have unintended consequences. 

“Consideration needs to be given to all the impacts a product has – from manufacturing, transport, use and, finally, waste disposal.

“Reducing plastic waste can be a challenge, so it’s important to engage the support of those you work with to help you along the way.

“Abta’s new guidance will support travel businesses to develop a plastic waste strategy that takes these factors into account to ensure that all implications are considered. 

There are also other resources available to help businesses address plastic, including Travelife for accommodation, an international sustainability certification scheme, where its members lead the way on waste reduction initiatives.”