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Waste plastic bottles and other types of plastic waste at the waste disposal site in Thilafushi, part of the Maldives. Credit: Shutterstock/ Mohamed Abdulraheem


There’s no love lost for plastic packaging. Whether it’s complicated recycling instructions on the products we buy, startling images of the impacts on wildlife or simply the economic value lost through waste, plastics have been climbing the international agenda for years. So how do 8 million tonnes of plastic still end up in the ocean each year?

Searching for the right solutions

The urgency of the issue has led to brands, governments, NGOs and celebrities promoting a host of solutions. Reusable packaging is part of the answer, and shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups have become popular purchases for those trying to do their bit. This works to replace certain types of packaging, but think about all the other pieces of plastic we come into contact with every single day. Plastic film can keep food fresher for longer, and wrappers ensure medical equipment is safe for patients. In many cases, it wouldn’t be hygienic, convenient or feasible to go fully reusable.

Read the full article on innovations such as packaging inspired by nature, made from food waste and more here.

By Joe Iles for GreenBiz.


The organic garden at the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif., where herbs will be planted for guests who opt out of housekeeping. Credit: Bardessono Hotel & Spa

Promoting sustainability, properties are offering food and beverage credits and other perks for guests who forgo housekeeping services.

The question came at check-in: Did I want to forgo housekeeping for the two days I was staying at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in exchange for a $10 a day food and beverage credit?


The clerk repeated himself. Some guests, he explained, didn’t want to be bothered during their stay — hangovers and all that. So last summer the Flamingo, along with nearly all of its sister properties in Vegas (it is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment), decided to give people the chance to decline having their rooms cleaned in exchange for a voucher.

Read the full article on eradicating housekeeping for a better environment, and for a better hotel’s bottom line here.

By Abby Ellin for The New York Times.



Video posted on YouTube shows water densely strewn with food wrappers, cups and sachets as tropical fish dart in and out

A British diver has captured shocking images of himself swimming through a sea of plastic rubbish off the coast of the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali.

A short video posted by diver Rich Horner on his social media account and on YouTube shows the water densely strewn with plastic waste and yellowing food wrappers, the occasional tropical fish darting through the deluge.

With poor government planning and low levels of awareness about waste and recycling, Indonesia is now the second-largest plastic polluter in the world after China.

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian



Sustainable development has now also become a term that is synonymous with how tourism development should take place. In the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), where specific developmental characteristics play out, what kind of indicators for successful deployment of tourism that makes development in the region sustainable are we likely to see?

Sustainable tourism indicators have always been used to inform, assess and evaluate conditions and situations. Going forward, indicators will serve also as a benchmark for stakeholders to focus on critical areas that contribute to a destination’s sustainability (Lee & Hsieh, 2016), and at times a strategic tool, if it has not been so already.

Read the full article to learn more about the GMS, potential indicators as well as the importance and challenges of sustainable tourism here.

By Kevin Phun for


Credit: Travindy

The UNWTO and UNDP recently issued an analysis of country and company reports on sustainability initiatives in tourism. Their report shows where the most activity has occurred and where opportunities lie for the industry to address the SDGs. There is a lot to unpack in this report, but I want to hone in on one concept: the role of small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

“…the private sector – particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which represent the bulk of the tourism sector – must be sensitized and given access to knowledge and capacity, including in new technologies that encourage investment in greener and more sustainable businesses…[SMEs] often lack awareness of how efforts and investment in sustainable business operations can also significantly boost competitiveness and profitability, while increasing customer and host community satisfaction” (p. 13).

Read the full article to find out more about reasons why many SMEs are not sustainable and possible solutions here.

By Aurora Dawn Reinke for Travindy.


Photo credit: ITC/Pan Pet

Cultural tourism can create opportunities that benefit travelers and the destination, but it requires thoughtful balance and strategy. We found insight from Peter Richards, consultant on Cultural Tourism Development and Market Access for the International Trade Centre.

Q: What are the most important elements of responsible travel as a whole?

Read the interview to find out how Peter Richards answered this question among others on living heritage experiences, as well as challenges and solutions and more here.

A Featured Conversation for PATA Conversations.


Credit: Sereechai Puttes, Time Out Bangkok

SOS Thailand’s COO tells us how we can get more out of food waste

Bangkok is a huge buffet city, with hotels and restaurants offering daily eat-all-you-can feasts or Sunday brunch specials. Many of these buffets prepare more food than their guests can consume—better be safe than have to deal with hungry, disgruntled customers complaining that there wasn’t enough roast beef.

But have you ever wondered what these restaurants do with all their excess food? Most become food waste, ending up in trash bins and, later, landfills. (64 percent of Bangkok landfills are made up of food waste.) Have you ever wondered if there was any way you could perhaps make sure that all these surplus food doesn’t just go to the bin? An NGO in Thailand has.

Read the full article to find out more here.

By Gail Piyanan and Thana Boonlert for Time Out Bangkok.


Maya Bay is one of Thailand’s most famous beaches but worries over damage to its coral reefs will close it during low season to help it recover. Photograph: ColorPlayer/Getty Images

The bucket-list beach on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh became famous when it featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, but environmental concerns mean it will close to tourists from June

It is one of the world’s most famous beaches, thanks to its starring role in Danny Boyle’s film of Alex Garland’s bestselling novel, and is often referred to simply as “the beach”. However, this summer Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will be closed to tourists as authorities attempt to reverse decades of damage done to the region’s marine environment.

The closure will take place from June to September, during the island’s low season, in order to give its coral reef time to recover. While similar measures have been introduced on other Thai islands – in 2016 local authorities closed Koh Tachai – it is the first time tourists will be forbidden from visiting Maya Bay.

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.


Photo credit: CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan plans to ban single-use plastic drinking straws in fast food chains beginning 2019, in a war on plastic waste, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said Tuesday.

According to the timetable, the EPA plans by 2020 to expand a restriction on providing customers with free plastic shopping bags to all retail stores that issue uniform invoices, while imposing a blanket restriction against offering plastic bags at all stores and studying the feasibility of raising the prices of plastic bags by 2025. A blanket ban on plastic shopping bags is set to be introduced in 2030, Lee said

Read the full article on Taiwan’s planned bans until 2030 here.

By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao for Focus Taiwan News Channel.


Supporters of an ivory ban protest outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

“We now need to see all other countries close loopholes that still allow the illegal trade of ivory to continue.”

Lawmakers in Hong Kong voted to ban all ivory sales in the territory on Wednesday, a move environmentalists hailed as a definitive measure to help curb elephant poaching.

The policies represent a massive step forward in the fight against elephant poaching across Africa and in parts of Asia, where the animals are slaughtered for their tusks. Environmentalists estimate more than 33,000 elephants are killed every year to help feed the demand for ivory, which is seen as a status symbol in some Asian countries.

Countries including Thailand and Vietnam are now the largest remaining markets for the ivory trade, and officials are calling on more sweeping bans to be instituted around the globe.

Read the full article here.

By Nick Visser for the HuffPost.