26 Oct

ABTA’s Make Holidays Greener campaign sees 49 tonnes of plastic taken out of the environment

An estimated 49 tonnes of plastic waste, equivalent to the weight of around 30 cars*, has either been avoided or removed from the environment this year, finds the Make Holidays Greener (MHG) campaign.

Make Holidays Greener is the annual campaign led by ABTA in partnership with Travelife for Accommodation. It ran from June to September 2018 and this year’s theme was ‘Say no to plastic.’

During the campaign, travel businesses shared the steps they have taken to reduce the amount of plastic they use, amounting to 43 tonnes. Another six tonnes of plastic was removed through clean-up operations.

Over 70 ABTA Members and travel businesses, from tour operators to hotels, participated in the campaign. Companies highlighted existing initiatives to cut down on plastics including reducing the use of plastic straws or offering filtered water as an alternative to bottled water, which contributed to MHG 2018’s total figures, while others made commitments to future activities, such as eliminating all avoidable single-use plastics in the next five years.

Clean-up operations were also organised with travel companies’ staff and customers to help keep local beaches, parks or neighbourhoods clean, with just under 2,300 people participating in 95 clean-up operations worldwide this year.

Further to this, more than 1,200 sustainable holiday pledges were made by holidaymakers, of which a third were to ‘Say no to plastic’.

For the first time the campaign engaged destination tourist boards, with the likes of Malta, Saint Lucia and the Falkland Islands talking about their activities including underwater clean-up operations, no longer handing out single-use plastic bags to shoppers and phasing-out Styrofoam food service containers and plastics. More information on these, and 22 other travel industry case studies, are available via the Make Holidays Greener website.

Nikki White, ABTA Director of Destinations and Sustainability comments:

“We are delighted with the commitment that the travel industry and holidaymakers have made to reduce their use of plastic. There have been some fantastic initiatives and it’s been a great opportunity for travel companies to share best practice of what has worked, try out new approaches and get customers involved.

“Make Holidays Greener is one part of a broader, long term, approach to sustainability that ABTA Members and destinations have been working on for some time. On plastic, our work includes promoting recycling in destination and supporting tour operators on developing a strategic approach to reducing plastic. 

“I would like to thank everyone who has taken part this year and remind ABTA Members that more support is available if they would like to further develop their sustainability approach beyond the summer.”

ABTA Members and destinations have been looking at plastics as part of their wider sustainability strategy for some time now – working on issues such as waste management and recycling in destination, as well as looking at the use of plastics. For companies looking to further develop their approach beyond the summer, ABTA’s sustainability programme, Better Places, supports Members to adopt the best policy that works for them; and the Travelife certification scheme for accommodation works with travel businesses around the world to help them improve their social, economic and environmental impacts. 1,400 hotels now measure themselves using the Travelife sustainability criteria – which includes acting to minimise waste and packaging use.

Holidaymakers can still make a pledge via http://www.makeholidaysgreener.org.uk/holidaymaker .

The pledges are:

Say no to plastic
Look for the Travelife logo - stay at a hotel that cares for the environment and its staff such as Travelife certified hotels
Reduce, re-use and recycle – leave and recycle any packaging at home before you travel
Organise a holiday clean up
Protect biodiversity
Eat local produce
Buy local souvenirs
Respect local customs and talk to locals in their languages
Protect children – support local community projects and refrain from giving money to begging children or visit orphanages
Offset your carbon
Use local transport
Switch off electrical devices in your accommodation when you’re not using them
Save water – reuse towels and take shorter showers
Tell the world – tell the world about my positive holiday experiences and leave an honest travel review
Free choice – the chance to organise or suggest an activity specific to your holiday

Notes to editors

* Data sourced via The Measure of Things

For industry case studies please visit: makeholidaysgreener.org.uk/casestudies

For further information, contact:

020 3117 0596 or press@abta.co.uk

Emily Jones, Media and PR Manager, 020 3117 0592

Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via pager: 07659 190 987

Web: www.abta.com

Twitter: @ABTAtravel

Notes to editors

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.