If you’ve checked into a hotel or sat down at a bar lately, you might have noticed a significant change. Instead of every hotel room stocking plastic bottles of water and every cocktail containing two plastic straws, the travel industry is making some changes and finally getting serious about plastic.
I covered this important shift for AFAR magazine in a story called: The Last Straw: How the Travel Industry is Phasing Out Plastic. I spoke to people from hotels, airlines, cruise ship companies, restaurant groups, and even entire cities or countries (Scotland, Seattle, Miami Beach) that have recently cracked down on reducing plastic consumption.
Instead of focusing on the small 8% of plastic we use that actually gets recycled, I wanted to feature creative solutions that are currently spreading across the industry. Rather than relying on plastic key cards, 1 Hotels uses different types of reclaimed wood as key cards. They also offer hotel rooms with taps for filtered water and a small chalkboard instead of a paper message pad.
Reusable metal straws being served with cocktails. Fabric laundry bags. Biodegradable straws. Shampoo dispenser systems. All of these small changes have the potential for making a large impact on the amount of plastic that winds up in landfills and unfortunately–in our oceans.
That has a direct impact on all of us who love to travel, who want to keep exploring the world and not find plastic everywhere we go.