Iberostar stopped single use plastic

This hotel chain has stopped generating 400 tons of plastic waste

Iberostar, a 100% family-owned Spanish multinational company with a portfolio of more than 120 four- and five-star hotels located in 19 countries worldwide, is designing unique guest experiences as part of its #WaveofChange movement to help nourish the ocean and the ecosystems and communities that depend on it.

Eliminating plastic waste is a major component of Iberostar’s Wave of Change commitment, which protects and nurtures ocean ecosystems for the benefit of the communities that depend on them and contributes to a circular economy that reuses and recycles more materials—all while creating indelible experiences for hotel guests. According to Iberostar’s own survey, 85% of guests said they valued the changes Iberostar has made to remove plastics, and 68% said they consider sustainability when choosing a hotel.

This year alone, it has eliminated 400 tons of plastics waste in its hotels worldwide. By the end of 2019, all of Iberostar’s 120 hotels globally will have rooms that are free of single-use plastics. In Spain, entire hotels will be single-use plastic-free this year. By 2020, Iberostar is moving away from single-use plastics altogether (except where laws require it) in its entire global operations. Already, changes have included:

  • Adding multi-use recyclables to remove 2,700 kg of plastic a year
  • Switching to plant-based bags for room trash cans and for the exterior, kitchen, and other bins to remove 134,619 kg of plastics a year
  • Swapping pens for pencils in rooms to save 3,240 kg a year
  • Switching to environmentally conscious laundry bags to save 3,000 kg of plastic a year
  • Replacing plastic minibar products (and encouraging suppliers to move away from plastics) to save 900 kg of plastics a year
  • Replacing almost 1 million aluminum coffee capsules per year for compostable ones
  • Using plant-based bags for shoes to save 420 kg of plastics a year
  • Creating ecological guest ID wristbands to save 1,226 kg of plastics a year
  • Installing water refilling stations around its hotels to save 85,000 bottles a year

“Interestingly, guests don’t often miss plastics when we remove them from their experience,” said Dr. Megan Morikawa, Global Sustainability Director. “And once they’ve stayed with us, they can’t help but notice opportunities to get rid of plastic waste that go unrecognized at other hotels or even in their own day-to-day lives. It opens them up to making changes that last beyond their vacation.” 

iberostar WaveofChange hashtagWhile welcoming recent commitments by other hotels and tourism businesses to reduce their single-use plastics, Iberostar designed #WaveOfChange to replace all kinds of wasteful practices with better experiences for guests and their families.

For example, Iberostar has installed water refilling stations at some of its hotels in Majorca and the Dominican Republic. The project will prevent the use of 85,000 plastic water bottles per year in both destinations and will expand to all of the brand’s properties around the globe to fulfill the goal to be single-use plastics free, in all hotel areas, by the end of 2020.

Iberostar’s Honest Food commitment creates a model for transitioning to responsibly sourced seafood at its restaurants while relying on gastronomic excellence to revolutionize the path towards responsible consumption. It involves not only purchasing but creating client awareness and supporting local fisheries in their journey toward sustainable operations.

And to foster coastal health, Dr. Morikawa and her team have developed an ambitious project to research and restore coral reefs, including the opening of Iberostar’s first of several planned coral reef labs at Iberostar’s Bavaro Complex in the Dominican Republic, where Iberostar has also hired a local fisherman to act as full-time coral gardeners.

Iberostar partners in all of these efforts with established and accredited organizations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, sustainable waste management company Tirme in Majorca, and the European Strategy for Plastics in its circular economy efforts; with the Marine Stewardship Council, FishWise, and the WWF in its responsible seafood commitment; and with University of the Balearic Islands, Fundemar and others coastal health and reef protection. Iberostar shares its #WaveOfChange efforts with communities through programs, such as “A coral is an animal,” which Iberostar leverages to provide educational sessions to families of the brand’s employees and their communities to raise awareness about the coastal ecosystems where Iberostar operates, and with its youngest guests through its Star Camp for kids.    

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