Thomas Cook has promised to remove 70 million single-use plastics from its resorts until the end of 2019, a big environmental move from the colossal tour operator company.
In a bid to preserve the oceans that take top billing at most of its hotels, Britain’s third-largest tour operator said it would remove 70 million single-use plastics – equivalent to 3,500 suitcases full – within the next 12 months. This will come from domestic operations, on the company’s airplanes and in its branded hotels around Europe and northern Africa.
Plastics are a major source of marine pollution: marine animals become entangled in large pieces, while small pieces cause damage by entering the marine food chain. And once these plastic particles enter the marine environment, wind and currents spread them around the globe, dispersing the pollution in locations as remote as uninhabited Pacific islands and the Arctic.
A spokesperson for the operator, which has 22 million customers a year, cited the company’s customer research as an impetus for change: the issue of single-use plastic matters to 90 per cent of Thomas Cook customers, according to a survey of more than 3,000 people.
Nearly three-quarters of those polled said that their awareness of plastic use has grown in the past 12 months. Indeed, over the past year airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, have given prominent placement to water fountains for re-filling reusable bottles; the Mayor of London announced a roll-out of public drinking fountains in August, exactly a year after Borough Market, the heart of gourmet food in London, announced its phasing out of plastic bottle sales with the installation of free water fountains.