As part of the European Week for Waste Reduction, Plastic Free Balearics has presented preliminary results revealing the impact of its first stage of certification, a seal of environmental quality that facilitates the reduction of single-use plastics among businesses operating in the hospitality sector across the four islands.
Plastic Free Balearics, a certification created and promoted by the foundations Save the Med and IbizaPreservation, with the participation of Plastic Free Ibiza & Formentera and the Plastic Free Menorca alliance, has been evaluating companies throughout the territory since July, a process that is ongoing. It has assessed 44 companies to date, of which four are hotel chains, giving a total of 93 establishments.
According to data issued today by the participating entities, this means that 93,818 plastic water or drinks bottles have already been eliminated. Counting only the companies assessed to date, 4,383kg of plastic waste are projected to be removed from the supply chain.
"By reducing all these products, we are eliminating their potential negative impact on local ecosystems as well as their life-cycle impact," said Jaime Bagur, project manager. "It also sends a clear message to citizens of the Balearics - both those running companies and their customers - that they are the standard bearers of these changes. For this reason, we encourage all hospitality businesses in the region to join the challenge."
The certification aspires to be a key tool for the reduction of plastic pollution in the Balearic Islands, focusing as it does on the 23 categories of products that most damage its coastlines, such as straws, cutlery, plates, cups, single-dose sachets, plastic bags, or masks. Most of these products originate in the hospitality sector, which together with the commercial sector generates the highest percentage of waste in the territory.
Plastic Free Balearics therefore seeks to reward those companies that reduce their environmental footprint and lead the transition towards a circular economy, awarding them the “Plastic Free Guardian” seal. This assigns businesses between one and five stars, depending on the percentage of "Red Flag" products - the most polluting ones - eliminated, as well as considering whether these have been substituted with so-called “honest” alternatives, i.e. those with a lower or zero environmental impact.
Furthermore, the certification goes beyond EU directives and the products prohibited under the articles of the new Balearic Waste Law, not accepting "bioplastics" - biodegradable or compostable plastics - as alternatives, due to the complications that persist with their management.
Eduardo Martínez Gil of Brut de Llubí restaurant in Mallorca, the only establishment certified with 5 stars, remarked: “For me it stems from my understanding of the environment and my aim to run a low waste restaurant and make better use of everything. We use local products and we throw away as little as possible. This philosophy includes looking after the environment and eliminating single-use plastics, etc. Finding a certification that recognises this is very valuable."
Meanwhile, the owner of Sa Gulita restaurant in Ibiza, Eva Segura, affirmed that their 3-star certification was “a recognition of the values that motivate us to continue building a more sustainable life. Having the backing of a tribe like Plastic Free is a support that we are very grateful for."
Plastic Free Balearics was launched a year ago, in November 2020, with the aim of promoting the development of the Balearic Islands as a territory highly committed to sustainability and environmental regeneration. It is co-financed by Beyond Plastic Med, an association based in Monaco, whose mission is to develop and support a network of stakeholders in the Mediterranean committed to curbing plastic pollution through innovative and sustainable solutions.