Sustainable alternative to most common products
There exist a range of alternatives for single-use (plastic) products not all as green and sustainable as they seem. We show you different alternatives for the top 5 single-use plastic items in tourism businesses including their impact on the environment.
Sustainability Ratings Charts
Below you’ll find an overview of potential alternatives that can be used to replace single-use plastic products.
The potential alternatives are listed on a scale of 0–10.
A solution rated 0 has the least negative impact, a solution rated 10 has a high negative impact and corresponding traffic light colours provide a more visual demonstration.
All suggested alternatives are compliant with the EU Plastics Directive.
Alternatives to single-use plastic bottles
According to our research the best option to offer water to your guests is by using tap water (if safe to drink or filtered) or water stations with reusable glasses / bottles.
Make sure that the measure is well communicated to guests and staff and that everyone is provided with or has access to a reusable glass / bottle.
If providing tap water or installing water filter station is not possible in your region you can check whether one of your suppliers offers medium glass water bottles with a return system which has a better impact on the environment than disposable bottles.
See our Decision Tree for Water Bottles to make a more informed decision.
Single-use plastic water bottles
|Dispenser with returnable big size water container||2.14|
|Reusable bottle (carafe) with filtered water on site||2.2|
|Medium glass bottles (local & returnable)||2.2|
|Medium plastic bottles (local & returnable)||2.64|
|Medium glass bottles (local & disposable)||4.4|
|Medium plastic bottles (local & disposable)||4.86|
|Carton box of water||7.38|
Alternatives to single-use plastic cups
Single-use plastic cups have a high negative impact on the environment. It is recommended to replace them with reusable cups made from glass or hard plastic as they can be washed, don’t break and save a lot of waste.
Single-use plastic cups should not be replaced by products made of paper or other single-use materials. These products create a lot of waste as well and put pressure on other resources.
For example, paper cups are often lined with plastic to avoid sipping and cannot be recycled as the two materials (plastic / paper) cannot be separated.
See our Decision Tree for Single-use Plastic Cups as well as our Standard Operating Procedure for Reusable Cups and Glasses to make a more informed decision.
Single-use plastic cups
|Reusable cups made from glass||2.93|
|Reusable cups made from stainless steel||3.01|
|Reusable cups made from hard plastic||4.27|
|Single-use cups made from 100% home compostable materials||5.67|
|Single-use paper cups lined with aqueous plastic||5.85|
|Single-use paper cups lined with home compostable plastic||6.49|
|Single-use paper cups lined with traditional plastic||6.79|
|Single-use paper cups made from industrially compostable plastic||7.01|
Alternatives to single-use plastic straws
Single-use plastic straws have a high negative impact on the environment. It is recommended not to offer or provide straws at all – or to only provide them on request.
Replacing them with reusable straws made from glass, stainless steel or bamboo can also be an option as they can be washed, don’t break and save a lot of waste.
Single-use plastic straws should not be replaced by straws made of paper or other single-use materials. These products create a lot of waste as well and put pressure on other resources.
Single-use plastic straws
|No straws at all||0|
|Reusable straws made from glass||2.93|
|Reusable straws made from stainless steel||3.01|
|Reusable straws made from bamboo||3.12|
|Single-use straws made from straw||5.67|
|Single-use straws made from paper||5.83|
|Edible single-use straws wrapped in paper||5.85|
Alternatives to single-use masks
During the COVID 19 pandemic the production and use of single-use masks as Private Personal Equipment (PPE) have increased significantly with deadly effects on the environment.
Did you know that single-use masks do not prevent infection transmission better than properly worn reusable masks?
Prefer reusable face masks branded with the company logo for your staff and make sure there is a process in place for the handling and laundering of the masks.
See our Decision Tree for Masks to make a more informed decision.
|Reusable masks made of coffee yarn||2.84|
|Reusable masks made of cotton||3.51|
|Reusable transparent plastic face shield||4.27|
|Single-use hemp masks lined with corn-starch||7.02|
|Single-use masks made from bio-based materials||7.02|
Alternatives to miniature plastic sanitiser bottles
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic (and other illness outbreaks) the use of disinfectants is increasing, many tourism business are providing sanitizer in miniature plastic bottles to their customers.
By providing refillable option such as bottles made from stainless steel or handwashing or sanitising stations to guests and staff the amount of (plastic) waste is reduced.
If these options are not possible in your company think of providing disinfectants in bottles made of recycled plastic.
See our Decision Tree for Sanitizer Bottles as well as our Standard Operating Procedures for Handwashing and Sanitizing to make a more informed decision.
Miniature plastic sanitiser bottles
|Miniature bottles made from stainless steel or aluminium||3.01|
|Refill dispenser made from plastic||3.51|
|Handwashing with bar soap in cardboard packaging||5.28|
|Miniature bottles made from recycled plastic||6.49|
|Miniature bottles made from bio-based plastic||7.02|