PortAventura World offers bins for different types of waste, including trash, recyclables, and biodegradable materials (credit: PortAventura World).
The European Parliament’s Single-Use Plastics Directive comes into force in 2021. Designed to prevent plastic pollution, the law will compel Europe’s attractions industry to phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, achieve high collection rates for recycled items, and transition to greener solutions. Member of the European Parliament Frédérique Ries, who steered the legislation through the Parliament, says it was “essential for the planet.”
According to the European Commission, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics. Products covered by the new ban will include several items used in food and beverage operations at attractions, like single-use plastic cutlery, single-use plastic plates, plastic straws, plastic balloon sticks, oxo-degradable plastics and food containers, and expanded polystyrene cups.
PortAventura World’s Plastic-Free Plan
Attractions are already taking action. PortAventura World Parks & Resort in Tarragona, Spain, is on a mission to become plastic-free. “We apply the principle: ‘There is no better waste than the one that doesn’t exist,’” says Choni Fernández, director of corporate responsibility.
Where possible, the company removes plastic materials altogether—plastic straws have gone, for example. China plates and glass cups have replaced plastic tableware. Guests have been impressed, reporting that food served on china looks of a higher quality. To facilitate the change, “we carried out a big investment to install dishwashers and to contract more staff hours to manage them,” says Fernández.
PortAventura World also offers guests a reusable glass for a 1 euro deposit, refunded when they return them. “The trick is to have a very attractive glass so that they do not return them. The park earns money as the cost is lower, and you do not need to clean or destroy them,” says Fernández.