Tackling tourist waste

The island of Paros in Greece relies on tourism yet sees a 5,000% increase in plastic waste during high season.

In 2020, Common Seas partnered with Paros to design, test and scale solutions that address the root causes of the plastic problem.

The success of this project has shown how Greece could become a leader in the fulfilment of EU targets on plastic reduction and a pioneer in tackling the plastic crisis.

Our on-the-ground team built innovative partnerships with local government, business and the community. Together, they designed and tested the following solutions to the plastic problem.

  • Working with over 100 hospitality businesses to help them measure and reduce or eliminate single-use plastics.
  • Conducting community-led beach litter audits to understand the plastics entering Paros’ beaches and sea.
  • Installing gamified ashtrays to stop the littering of cigarette butts on Paros.
  • Improving the placement of bins across the island to decrease landfill and increase recycling.
  • Launching Community Dishes – a reuse solution – to remove single-use plastics from island festivals.
  • Incentivising the use of tap water by testing its quality, installing water filters in schools, and raising awareness through water bills and a comms campaign, including a ‘Drink Tap’ video shown on local ferries.
  • Launching an education programme to inspire the next generation of sea champions.

For a more in depth look at any of these solutions, download our Impact Report.

We used what we’d learned on Paros to develop larger-scale solutions that could tackle plastic pollution around the world.

  • Business partnerships – Our work with local businesses helped us build PlasTICK - an online reporting tool and coach that supports hospitality businesses reduce plastic use.
  • Education – Having got our educational resources into schools on Paros, we took them to the Greek Government – which then rolled them out across the rest of the country.
  • Tools and resources – We created a toolkit so other islands could follow in Paros’ footsteps. The Clean Blue Promise is now being used on Antiparos, Skiathos and Syros.
"We all share a love for the environment and experience nature’s wonder. We welcome this important initiative that will invest in incubating and accelerating viable enterprises developed on the island, preserving the beauty of Paros for generations to come." Mr. Athanasios Katris
Chief Executive Officer of WATT

The success of this pilot project in Paros was built on partnership and collaboration. We are grateful to Paros Municipality, the Cyclades Preservation Fund, WATT, WWF Greece and the many local businesses, groups and individuals who supported our work.

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