When removing straws is not enough: G Adventures calls its partners to join movement to reduce plastics in tourism

With awareness around the plastics crisis at an all-time high, small group adventure travel operator and social enterprise, G Adventures, is calling on its travel industry partners to join forces in the movement to reduce the use of single-use plastics in tourism.

Starting with the simple step of asking all suppliers for their support to provide alternative solutions, G Adventures hopes to provide clean drinking water for as many travellers on-tour as possible, so they can replace disposable plastic water bottles with reusable vessels.

Named the ‘Plastics Partnerships Project’ the initiative comes after G Adventures recognised that to have a greater impact it needed to engage more partners to help. After an approach to its complete hotel supply chain, 80% of the hotels have committed to providing clean drinking water for travellers by January 2020, which equates to up to 3.5 million bottles being saved annually by G Adventures’ 200,000 travellers.

Jamie Sweeting, vice president of responsible travel and social enterprise at G Adventures, says the company has been making a conscious effort over the past few years to reduce plastics across the business, but realised that to shift the dial further it needed to engage not only its staff, but also suppliers, agency partners, and ultimately its travellers.

“We’re starting in a manageable way, with a focus on reducing the use of single-use plastic water bottles. We already take steps globally to reduce plastic in our offices and on our water-based tours and we actively participate in beach clean-ups where we can. We know we can do more however, but we can’t do it alone.

“The Plastics Partnership Project is an invitation to work together to make small changes that can collectively make a big difference to our planet and its people. More than 350 million tonnes* of plastic are produced each year and eight million of those end up in our oceans. Working collaboratively enables us to drive even more change in behaviour,” says Sweeting.

Some of the plastics-reduction initiatives G Adventures already has in place include:

  • The Ocean Health Fund – started by G Adventures’ non-profit partner, Planeterra. A key focus of this fund is plastics reduction and G Adventures’ global marine team fundraises year-round to support ocean clean-up projects.
  • Bathroom amenities onboard the G Expedition ship are provided in refillable containers to limit the use of small, single-use plastic containers, and no plastic straws are used.
  • Filtered water available onboard the G Expedition and on the Sri Lanka Sailing catamaran, with no bottled water supplied onboard.
  • The G Expedition picks up drifting plastic and fishing lines whenever possible.
  • Beach clean ups (for guests and staff) have been organised in Svalbard for the last four years, as well as in Thailand, Cuba and Sri Lanka.

In addition to the launch of the Plastics Partnership Project, G Adventures has partnered with industry travel experts, Travel Without Plastic, to develop tools and resources to help reduce single-use plastic throughout its operations. The small group tour operator is also a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, which connects like-minded business looking to work together to reduce single-use plastics.

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