Abta has today signed up to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, pledging to fight plastic pollution.

Led by the United Nations Environment Programme and World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the tourism initiative urges businesses and governments to take concerted action.

As a member of the advisory committee for the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, Abta has contributed to its co-creation. Now, as a signatory, the travel association pledges to help eliminate, innovate and ‘circulate’ – reuse, recover and regenerate – plastics.

Clare Jenkinson, Abta head of sustainability, said: “As the tourism industry reviews health and safety protocols in light of Covid-19, pressure to use single-use plastics has once again increased.

“We want to support our members make the right choices for their business, and to manage waste without compromising the health and safety of customers and staff.

“Our sustainability programmes – Better Places and Travelife – will help us engage with our members and give them the necessary tools to see this change happen.”

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative requires tourism organisations to make a set of commitments by 2025. These include:

Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025.

Take action to move from single-use to re-use models or reusable alternatives by 2025.

Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used.

Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics.

Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.

To accomplish this vision, tourism companies and destinations commit to stop consuming plastic items they don’t need; to innovate, so all plastics they do need are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything they use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment.