Tourism generates a significant volume of waste, mainly from all types of packaged products.
When a person is on the go, he generates between 3 and 10 times the amount of waste produced in his home.
Tourism establishments produce, therefore, large amounts of waste and the mismanagement of these can be a source of water and soil pollution as a result of pollutants filtering from the garbage heaps. In addition, it threatens the health of people by the potential reproduction of organisms and can ruin the experience of tourists because of odors, compromising the establishments' image and the destination.
The fundamental principles of proper waste management that each company should seek, are known as the "3 Rs": reduce, reuse and recycle. To these three principles they should add two elements to complete the process of waste management; efficient purchase, as a starting point, and proper disposal, as a finishing point.
Finally, we can identify five practices for proper waste management that will provide to touristic facilities long and short-term benefits:
- Reduction: avoid generating waste in the first place, taking control of the amount and types of waste generated and looking for creative ways to reduce them (buying in bulk, refillable containers, etc.).
- Green purchasing: purchase products based on their environmental, recycling and reuse qualities and the amount of packaging they use.
- Reuse and recycling: it is always better to reuse before recycling, because the former does not imply a process. Also important is the separation of waste (by material) to achieve an effective recycling process.
- Waste recovery: a big part of the waste that comes from food and drinks is biodegradable, so it should be composted rather than sent to landfill. The composting process helps converting organic matter into carbon dioxide, water, nutrients and humus.
- Waste disposal: there is always going to be residual waste that can not be reduced, reused or recycled and is important to be sure that it's disposed properly, without harming people or the environment.
Visitors are responsible for choosing this type of establishment and ask about the waste management to ensure that recycling is real and the company is not doing green wash, a concept referred to those who appear to be sustainable when in fact they are not.
Fore more information, visit this recycling manual.