Thomas Cook launched a pledge on plastics in November, committing the company to remove 70 million single-use plastics â€“ equivalent to 3,500 suitcases - within the next 12 months.
The company reported research that found 90 per cent of its customers cared about plastics as an issue, with two-thirds saying they would be more likely to use a travel company which is serious about reducing the use of plastic items.
Thomas Cook is therefore establishing a pilot scheme in Rhodes to trial sustainable alternatives to plastic products, trialling new materials as alternatives to plastic within a destination community to assess whether there is an opportunity to adopt them more widely.
The company also announced another new pilot project whereby the sustainable design firm Wyatt and Jack will repurpose broken and discarded plastic inflatables, lilos and children's swimming armbands into bags and holiday accessories. To achieve its aims, Thomas Cook has been working throughout 2018 with the Travel Without Plastic Initiative, which partners with hotel groups and other travel companies to reduce and replace plastic in their supply chain, offering various services ranging from a toolkit to a dedicated Plastics Account Manager for large hotel chains.
"It's fantastic to see a mainstream tour operator like Thomas Cook make such a strong pledge to reduce unnecessary single-use plastics," Joanne Hendrickx, founder of Travel Without Plastic, told WTTC.
"Doing this across a range of business segments is a great opportunity to positively influence thousands of staff, customers and suppliers into thinking differently about single-use, and we hope that many more operators will follow their lead."
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