Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

Global Tourism Plastics Initiative

“The problem of plastic pollution in tourism is too big for any single organisation to fix on its own. To match the scale of the problem, changes need to take place across the whole tourism value chain.”


  • Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time and a growing concern for tourism destinations.
  • Each year, a staggering 8 million tonnes of additional plastic end up in the world’s oceans.
  • Much of the plastic used in tourism is made to be thrown away and often can’t be recycled, leading to large amounts of pollution.
  • With 80% of all tourism taking place in coastal areas, plastic pollution from tourism can easily end up in oceans and waterways.
  • In the Mediterranean region alone, marine litter increases by up to 40% during peak tourist season.
  • In-land and urban tourism can also contribute to marine plastic pollution, with huge amounts of plastic pollution ending up in rivers and getting carried into our oceans.
  • Each year up to one million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals, marine turtles and countless fish die because of plastic pollution.

“Tourism companies and destinations now have the opportunity to help achieve circularity in the use of plastics.”


  • The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative aims to articulate, support and scale-up action by tourism stakeholders and is building a global alliance to fight plastic pollution.
  • It offers a common vision for the tourism sector globally to take action that addresses the root causes of plastic pollution by rethinking and redesigning how we use plastics.
  • It enables front-running businesses, governments and associations to inspire others by leading by example in the shift towards circularity in the use of plastics.
  • It is part of the activities of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the One Planet network and led by UN Environment and the World Tourism Organization, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
  • It represents the tourism sector interface of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment , already uniting over 400 businesses on the journey towards a circular economy for plastics.

“Tourism companies, destinations and associations around the world are working together and taking a systemic approach through the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative.”


  • The Initiative requires tourism organizations to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025:
    1. Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025;
    2. Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives by 2025;
    3. Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable;
    4. Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used;
    5. Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics;
    6. Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets.
  • The Initiative will support companies, destinations, associations and NGOs through:
    1. 1. Sharing information about the plastic pollution challenge and the solutions being implemented across the sector;
    2. Fostering procurement practices that consider the plastic footprint of products and services and encourage circularity in the use of plastics;
    3. Promoting innovation and facilitating the cooperation between governments, local organisations, and businesses;
    4. Consolidating the progress reported by all signatories and establishing a performance benchmark;
    5. Publicly communicating the actions taken by signatories and showcasing the leadership of the sector.

For further information and details about how to join, please visit or contact




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