For many, Greek islands are synonymous with ‘paradise’. Unfortunately, in reality, many small islands are plagued by single-use plastic pollution. Much (if not most) of this waste can be traced to frappuccino-loving tourists and locals.
The good news is, because tourist-facing businesses are key contributors to single-use plastic waste, they can also be key change-makers. When provided with the right information and support, these businesses can radically reduce their single-use plastic, optimise local waste management and lead by example in their community.
Our project, the Clean Blue Alliance, involves working with island communities around the world to help them stop plastic from polluting their precious beaches and seas. As part of this, we investigated waste flows in Greece (particularly the island of Paros), and worked with the UK non-profit Sustainable Restaurant Association to create specific plastic-reduction guidelines for Greek Islands – the Clean Blue Guidelines.
To make sure the guidelines were of practical use, we brought together a group of taverna, restaurant and café owners in Paros. As well as reviewing the guidelines and contributing ideas, the attendees pledged to become the first Clean Blue pioneering businesses.
Looking ahead, we’ll be trialling systems that encourage reuse, and learning and updating the guidelines as we go. But for now, with the tourist season fast approaching, we’re excited by the steps already taken by 40+ businesses to start their journey to eliminating the biggest plastic culprits of Paros beach pollution – bags, straws, bottles and coffee cups.