Travel Brands to Ban Single-Use Plastics

(Photo by Hurtigruten) Hurtigruten estimates its ban will cut 982,300 pounds of single-use plastics annually.

A number of major travel brands have announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic items over the past week, in a bid to boost sustainable tourism.

In terms of cruise travel, this week Hurtigruten announced that it will ban all single-use plastics across its fleet of 14 ships by July 2. This includes plastic straws (which will be replaced with metal straws), as well as plastic drink mixers, glasses, coffee lids, bags, toothpicks, cutlery, aprons, single-use packaging of butter and single-use plastic items. Collectively, Hurtigruten estimates that this ban will cut 982,300 pounds of single-use plastics annually.

In air travel news, this week Alaska Airlines announced that it will replace single-use, non-recyclable plastic stir straws and citrus picks with sustainable alternatives in its airport lounges and on all domestic and international flights. The new initiative, which kicks off July 16, will make Alaska the first U.S. airline to ban single-use plastic beverage straws, the airline said. Seattle-based Lonely Whale is supporting the initiative.

Finally, in the hotel space, Hilton announced that it will eliminate plastic straws across its managed hotels in the Asia Pacific region by the end of 2018, as well as transition away from plastic bottles in its conference and event spaces. Hilton said the move is part of its global commitment to cut its  environmental footprint in half and double its social impact investment by 2030. Other sustainability goals for 2030 include reducing the hotel company’s carbon intensity emissions by 61 percent; reducing water consumption and product waste by 50 percent; sustainably source meat, poultry, produce, seafood and cotton; and expand its existing soap recycling program to all hotels and send zero soap to landfills. Hilton is also working to double its social investment by doubling the amount spent with local, small and minority-owned suppliers; doubling investment in opportunity programs for women and youth; contributing 10 million volunteer hours through Team Member initiatives; doubling monetary support for natural disaster relief efforts; and eradicating forced labor and trafficking.

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