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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.

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Bamboo Straws Poolside at Anantara Golden Triangle (Credit: unknown via Mark Thomson)

Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts are proud to announce the decision to end the use of plastic drinking straws at all hotels and resorts in Asia from 1 January 2018. The first major hotel brands to announce a companywide decision to eradicate plastic straws at every single property across the Asia region with a view to extend the roll out to properties in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of the year.

In the serene mountainous region of Northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is working with a local artist, Khamchan Yano, who was shown by the village elders a fast growing wild bamboo, indigenous to the surrounds. Together they have perfected a way to keep the bamboo strong whilst also ensuring it is hygienic and reusable.

Read the full article on the initiative here.

By Mark Thomson on LinkedIn.

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      1. Take a reusable bag to avoid using plastic bags when shopping for groceries and souvenirs. There are many stylish and practical options, including cotton bags or recycled bags that fold into their own little mini-sack.
      2. Carry your own reusable water bottle and check if your accommodation offers refilling stations. You will be supporting the reduction of problematic plastic waste around the world, and you will be saving money. If you are a coffee lover, take a reusable coffee cup to avoid throwing away paper or styrofoam cups.
      3. Avoid buying travel-size, single-use shampoo and conditioner. Pack environmentally- friendly containers that may be used repeatedly. Check the ingredients of your toiletries – you may wish to purchase organic products that are healthier for your skin and body but also cause much less harm to the environment. As an example, many standard sunscreens are potentially harmful to people and the ocean, so choose an organic, mineral-based option. Here’s your guide to choosing an ocean-safe sunscreen.
      4. Unable to live without your smartphones and tablets? Take a solar-powered charger and power up your device with an eco-friendly gadget.
      5. Pack a set of reusable utensils to avoid using plastic knives and forks that are so often non-biodegradable and therefore harm the environment as well as being unhygienic. Take your own cutlery made of a sustainable material such as bamboo and benefit from a beautiful, durable and renewable lightweight option that does not stain or absorb flavours.
      6. Take a sarong. It may not be an obvious item on your eco-packing list but it will turn out to be the best investment a green traveller can make. It can be used as a towel, requiring less water to wash and less time to air-dry and it may also serve as a wet wipe to freshen up. Yes, you heard right, a wet wipe. The corner of a fast-drying sarong can work wonders after a long journey on buses and trains and you don’t leave behind a trail of wasted paper. It can also be used as a fashionable cover up or for a little extra warmth.

       

      All set for your next adventure? If you want to read more about eco-friendly travel essentials, you can find some more ideas here.

      Be sure to check out PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more information about being a responsible traveller before, during and after your trip.

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