Resorts Ditching Single-Use Plastics

Marine flora mixes with plastic packaging at the water's surface. Below, a green sea turtle swims away from the trash.
Steve De Neef, National Geographic Creative

Too Much Plastic in all the Wrong Places — Trashy — #stopsucking

In a Nutshell:  Plastic Waste is a Big Problem.  Worldwide.  And the Travel Industry (hotels, airlines, cruise-lines & destinations) have been taking notice and action.

Startling fact  —  by 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish

Recently, there is a huge push for ridding the use of single-use plastic — here’s a snippet of  DIRTY numbers PER YEAR that will be eliminated:

American Airlines expects to cut down their plastic use by 71,000 pounds a year.  Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings says is will eliminate 50 million straws a year.  Hilton will eliminate 35 million straws annually.  Marriott International expects to eliminate over 1.25 billion plastics per year.  The Walt Disney Company estimates 188 million plastics will be eliminated each year.

Okay, at this point my brain hurts from adding the numbers up from just those 5 companies.

Globally, almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually—half of which is single-use—and more than eight million tons of that plastic are dumped into the ocean, according to the Plastic Oceans Foundation.

national geographic

“Going Green” has been around for well over a decade.  Thankfully, however, hotels are embracing much wider programs focusing on sustainable tourism that not only focus on eco-friendly policies but on community and local economies.

A biodiversity hotspot, the Caribbean supports a range of rich ecosystems, many of which are threatened.   Named after the Carib Indigenous people, the Caribbean region consists of over 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays framed by the Gulf of Mexico, North, South and Central America.

Take the opportunity to experience wildlife reserves, parks and other attractions and lend a helping hand to Mother Nature by patronizing green hotels and eco-resorts — or even pitching in to help local efforts to keep the Caribbean beautiful. 

The Caribbean is home to some unique and fascinating nature parks and preserves, including the 43-square-mile El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. parks system. El Yunque is home to myriad endangered species and is famous for its beautiful waterfalls and ancient petroglyphs. The Bonaire National Marine Park protects some of the most pristine coral reefs in the Caribbean but also is very accessible to snorkelers and other visitors. Virgin Islands National Park comprises two-thirds of the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is just 20 minutes by ferry from busy St. Thomas; the park includes 7,000 acres of undeveloped beaches and forests as well as 5,000 acres of coral gardens.

Dominica benefits from its marvelous biodiversity, and has chosen to make ecotourism (and the conservation and preservation practices that go along with it) the foundation of its economic development. Dominica has lush jungles for hiking and mysterious rivers for exploring, and visitors can meet Carib Indians and even walk in the footsteps of Capt. Jack Sparrow — some of the wilder scenes in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed here.

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula isn’t all Cancun Spring Break mayhem. It’s also home to a number of quiet, carefully tended eco-preserves, where ancient Mayan ruins have lain hidden under thick jungle vines for centuries. Attractions include the highly accessible Xcaret Eco Park near Cancun.  Hotel Xcaret, opened December, 2017 on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.  It offers guests biodegradable straws made from avocado pits instead of plastic (yes, really). They take sustainability pretty seriously—all organic waste is composted on-site, and they contribute a portion of hotel profit to animal welfare and endangered species conservation programs.

Tanaporn Payommai

Behold the beauty of nature & nurture it.

Plastic draws the last straw … and, if you’re like me, you love sipping & slurping from tubes, so take a look at some pro-alternatives:

Reusable: Glass, Stainless Steel & Steel w/Silicone

Biodegradable: Paper, Bamboo & Wheat Stems

Edible: Bucatini Pasta, Pirouette Cookies or DIY Ice Straws

Ways to get involved:   Fight for trash free seas.  #SkiptheStraw

Don’t Miss:

Dominica is Banning Plastic, Styrofoam

Best All-Inclusives for Hanging Out With Monkeys
Best All Inclusives for Sustainable Eco-Tourism
AMResorts Bites Down on Plastic Straws

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About Stevie McQueene 9 Articles
Now that her kids are grown, Stevie McQueene is enjoying her second life as an writer who is willing to go anywhere for a good story, but prefers that "anywhere" be an all-inclusive resort and the "good story" to be one about spas. Or food. Or wine. Or some combination of those three. When not doing 'research' from a beach chair, Stevie can usually be found satisfying her daily salt intake requirements in the ocean waves, or a bottomless margarita.
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