Following GF Hotels and Diamond Resorts’ commitment to eliminate single-use plastic, the EU is on course to ban it entirely by 2021

Photo: Diamond Resorts.

Updated 25 October: There’s a saying that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come, and evidently we are in such a time, where the overwhelmingly powerful idea is that single-use plastic has not only had its day, it must be banned entirely. After individual policy moves like those I reported below from Diamond Resorts and GF Hoteles, the European Union is now on the way to banning single-use plastic entirely in an attempt to reduce the pollution it causes, especially in rivers and oceans. The new directive will ban things like drinking straws, cotton buds, disposable cutlery, etc by 2021.

The EU said it was a crackdown on “the top 10 plastic products that most often end up in the ocean”. Spain, like other EU member states, will now have to approve the directive before it becomes law, but the European Commission expects to get full support, and everything Spain has said and done recently suggests that this country, at least, will throw its weight fully behind the directive which is expected to be passed into law by the end of this year.

Updated 28 September: Following Diamond Resorts announcement of halving its single-use plastic the other day (below), the hotel association Ashotel has announced that the GF Hoteles will eliminate single-use plastic entirely by 2020. The reduction is one of the main objectives of the sustainability strategy adopted by the Fedola Group chain, with even plastic bottles themselves replaced by aluminum for employees and guests, and forms part of the chain’s commitment to sustainable growth for which it participates in the United Nations’ “Responsible Traveller global compact”. The group’s hotels will also be replacing all its plastic furniture with plant-based alternatives, changing lighting to LED technology, and reducing the use of chemical products in the swimming pools.

Original 25 September: Hotel Association Ashotel says that Diamond Resorts is working torwards reducing by half the use of single-use plastic in 2019, just one of the projects aimed at increasing awareness of the need for sustainable and environmental tourism. The company has six legal touristic complexes* in Tenerife providing nearly 4,000 beds in just under 1,000 apartments, and says that it wants to help contribute towards the environment and make Tenerife a more sustainable destination. As a result, the chain’s management is working together with the Purchasing departments in order to look for more ecological alternatives to non-reusable products such as straws, plates and cutlery, as well as water bottles.

Diamond Resorts say that it has calculated that in 2017 some 1,850 kilos of non-reusable plastic were consumed in its six Tenerife complexes, so the 50% reduction aimed for in 2019 is a project that is part of the socially responsible environmental policy that the group has been developing over the last five years, leading to all its resorts now having the ISO 14001 certification, one of a series of the International Organization for Standardization’s environmental management standards which provide a guideline or framework in which to systematize and improve environmental management efforts.

The group says the measure is part of a series of environmentally sustainable programmes it has introduced, including installing LED lights in apartments and common areas; motion sensors for lighting in common areas and offices; installations of efficient heat pumps for swimming pools, double glazing and solar protection sheets on exterior doors and windows, all to reduce heat inside apartments and reduce consumption of air conditioning. In addition there have been water-saving measures introdued to reduce consumption in pool and bathroom showers, taps with timers or motion sensors, double-flush cisterns, tap aerators, replacement of baths by showers in renovated apartments, awareness campaigns for customers and employees, replacement of washing machines and dishwashers by class A +, use of native plants to avoid unnecessary irrigation and water dispensing machines since 2016, where a third of the water is reused for irrigation.

*The Royal Sunset Beach Club in Fañabe; the Royal Tenerife Country Club, Sunset View and Santa Barbara in the Golf del Sur; and Sunset Bay and Sunset Harbour in Torviscas.

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